(2022). High inter-follicular spatial co-localization of CD8+FOXP3+ with CD4+CD8+ cells predicts favorable outcome in follicular lymphoma. ,
The spatial architecture of the lymphoid tissue in follicular lymphoma (FL) presents unique challenges to studying its immune microenvironment. We investigated the spatial interplay of T cells, macrophages, myeloid cells and natural killer T cells using multispectral immunofluorescence images of diagnostic biopsies of 32 patients. A deep learning-based image analysis pipeline was tailored to the needs of follicular lymphoma spatial histology research, enabling the identification of different immune cells within and outside neoplastic follicles. We analyzed the density and spatial co-localization of immune cells in the inter-follicular and intra-follicular regions of follicular lymphoma. Low inter-follicular density of CD8+FOXP3+ cells and co-localization of CD8+FOXP3+ with CD4+CD8+ cells were significantly associated with relapse (p = 0.0057 and p = 0.0019, respectively) and shorter time to progression after first-line treatment (Logrank p = 0.0097 and log-rank p = 0.0093, respectively). A low inter-follicular density of CD8+FOXP3+ cells is associated with increased risk of relapse independent of follicular lymphoma international prognostic index (FLIPI) (p = 0.038, Hazard ratio (HR) = 0.42 [0.19, 0.95], but not independent of co-localization of CD8+FOXP3+ with CD4+CD8+ cells (p = 0.43). Co-localization of CD8+FOXP3+ with CD4+CD8+ cells is predictors of time to relapse independent of the FLIPI score and density of CD8+FOXP3+ cells (p = 0.027, HR = 0.0019 [7.19 × 10-6 , 0.49], This suggests a potential role of inter-follicular CD8+FOXP3+ and CD4+CD8+ cells in the disease progression of FL, warranting further validation on larger patient cohorts..
van de Vijver, M.J.
(2022). Spatial interplay of lymphocytes and fibroblasts in estrogen receptor-positive HER2-negative breast cancer. ,
In estrogen-receptor-positive, HER2-negative (ER+HER2-) breast cancer, higher levels of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are often associated with a poor prognosis and this phenomenon is still poorly understood. Fibroblasts represent one of the most frequent cells in breast cancer and harbor immunomodulatory capabilities. Here, we evaluate the molecular and clinical impact of the spatial patterns of TILs and fibroblast in ER+HER2- breast cancer. We used a deep neural network to locate and identify tumor, TILs, and fibroblasts on hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides from 179 ER+HER2- breast tumors (ICGC cohort) together with a new density estimation analysis to measure the spatial patterns. We clustered tumors based on their spatial patterns and gene set enrichment analysis was performed to study their molecular characteristics. We independently assessed the spatial patterns in a second cohort of ER+HER2- breast cancer (N = 630, METABRIC) and studied their prognostic value. The spatial integration of fibroblasts, TILs, and tumor cells leads to a new reproducible spatial classification of ER+HER2- breast cancer and is linked to inflammation, fibroblast meddling, or immunosuppression. ER+HER2- patients with high TIL did not have a significant improved overall survival (HR = 0.76, P = 0.212), except when they had received chemotherapy (HR = 0.447). A poorer survival was observed for patients with high fibroblasts that did not show a high level of TILs (HR = 1.661, P = 0.0303). Especially spatial mixing of fibroblasts and TILs was associated with a good prognosis (HR = 0.464, P = 0.013). Our findings demonstrate a reproducible pipeline for the spatial profiling of TILs and fibroblasts in ER+HER2- breast cancer and suggest that this spatial interplay holds a decisive role in their cancer-immune interactions..
Ahmed Raza, S.E.
(2021). Biomarkers for site-specific response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in epithelial ovarian cancer: relating MRI changes to tumour cell load and necrosis. British journal of cancer,
Background Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) potentially interrogates site-specific response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC).Methods Participants with newly diagnosed EOC due for platinum-based chemotherapy and interval debulking surgery were recruited prospectively in a multicentre study (n = 47 participants). Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and solid tumour volume (up to 10 lesions per participant) were obtained from DW-MRI before and after NAC (including double-baseline for repeatability assessment in n = 19). Anatomically matched lesions were analysed after surgical excision (65 lesions obtained from 25 participants). A trained algorithm determined tumour cell fraction, percentage tumour and percentage necrosis on histology. Whole-lesion post-NAC ADC and pre/post-NAC ADC changes were compared with histological metrics (residual tumour/necrosis) for each tumour site (ovarian, omental, peritoneal, lymph node).Results Tumour volume reduced at all sites after NAC. ADC increased between pre- and post-NAC measurements. Post-NAC ADC correlated negatively with tumour cell fraction. Pre/post-NAC changes in ADC correlated positively with percentage necrosis. Significant correlations were driven by peritoneal lesions.Conclusions Following NAC in EOC, the ADC (measured using DW-MRI) increases differentially at disease sites despite similar tumour shrinkage, making its utility site-specific. After NAC, ADC correlates negatively with tumour cell fraction; change in ADC correlates positively with percentage necrosis.Clinical trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01505829..
(2021). Artificial intelligence and digital pathology: Opportunities and implications for immuno-oncology. Biochimica et biophysica acta. reviews on cancer,
The field of immuno-oncology has expanded rapidly over the past decade, but key questions remain. How does tumour-immune interaction regulate disease progression? How can we prospectively identify patients who will benefit from immunotherapy? Identifying measurable features of the tumour immune-microenvironment which have prognostic or predictive value will be key to making meaningful gains in these areas. Recent developments in deep learning enable a big-data analysis of pathological samples. Digital approaches allow data to be acquired, integrated and analysed far beyond what is possible with conventional techniques, and to do so efficiently and at scale. This has the potential to reshape what can be achieved in terms of volume, precision and reliability of output, enabling data for large cohorts to be summarised and compared. This review examines applications of Artificial intelligence (AI) to important questions in Immuno-oncology (IO). We discuss general considerations that need to be taken into account before AI can be applied in any clinical setting. We describe AI methods that have been applied to the field of IO to date and present several examples of their use..
(2021). MoNuSAC2020: A Multi-Organ Nuclei Segmentation and Classification Challenge. Ieee transactions on medical imaging,
van de Vijver, K.K.
van der Laak, J.
Van den Eynden, G.
International Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Working Group,
(2020). Pitfalls in assessing stromal tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (sTILs) in breast cancer. Npj breast cancer,
Stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (sTILs) are important prognostic and predictive biomarkers in triple-negative (TNBC) and HER2-positive breast cancer. Incorporating sTILs into clinical practice necessitates reproducible assessment. Previously developed standardized scoring guidelines have been widely embraced by the clinical and research communities. We evaluated sources of variability in sTIL assessment by pathologists in three previous sTIL ring studies. We identify common challenges and evaluate impact of discrepancies on outcome estimates in early TNBC using a newly-developed prognostic tool. Discordant sTIL assessment is driven by heterogeneity in lymphocyte distribution. Additional factors include: technical slide-related issues; scoring outside the tumor boundary; tumors with minimal assessable stroma; including lymphocytes associated with other structures; and including other inflammatory cells. Small variations in sTIL assessment modestly alter risk estimation in early TNBC but have the potential to affect treatment selection if cutpoints are employed. Scoring and averaging multiple areas, as well as use of reference images, improve consistency of sTIL evaluation. Moreover, to assist in avoiding the pitfalls identified in this analysis, we developed an educational resource available at www.tilsinbreastcancer.org/pitfalls..
van der Laak, J.A.
International Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Working Group,
(2020). Report on computational assessment of Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes from the International Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Working Group. Npj breast cancer,
Assessment of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) is increasingly recognized as an integral part of the prognostic workflow in triple-negative (TNBC) and HER2-positive breast cancer, as well as many other solid tumors. This recognition has come about thanks to standardized visual reporting guidelines, which helped to reduce inter-reader variability. Now, there are ripe opportunities to employ computational methods that extract spatio-morphologic predictive features, enabling computer-aided diagnostics. We detail the benefits of computational TILs assessment, the readiness of TILs scoring for computational assessment, and outline considerations for overcoming key barriers to clinical translation in this arena. Specifically, we discuss: 1. ensuring computational workflows closely capture visual guidelines and standards; 2. challenges and thoughts standards for assessment of algorithms including training, preanalytical, analytical, and clinical validation; 3. perspectives on how to realize the potential of machine learning models and to overcome the perceptual and practical limits of visual scoring..
de Andrea, C.E.
(2020). Topological Tumor Graphs: A Graph-Based Spatial Model to Infer Stromal Recruitment for Immunosuppression in Melanoma Histology. Cancer research,
Despite the advent of immunotherapy, metastatic melanoma represents an aggressive tumor type with a poor survival outcome. The successful application of immunotherapy requires in-depth understanding of the biological basis and immunosuppressive mechanisms within the tumor microenvironment. In this study, we conducted spatially explicit analyses of the stromal-immune interface across 400 melanoma hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) specimens from The Cancer Genome Atlas. A computational pathology pipeline (CRImage) was used to classify cells in the H&E specimen into stromal, immune, or cancer cells. The estimated proportions of these cell types were validated by independent measures of tumor purity, pathologists' estimate of lymphocyte density, imputed immune cell subtypes, and pathway analyses. Spatial interactions between these cell types were computed using a graph-based algorithm (topological tumor graphs, TTG). This approach identified two stromal features, namely stromal clustering and stromal barrier, which represented the melanoma stromal microenvironment. Tumors with increased stromal clustering and barrier were associated with reduced intratumoral lymphocyte distribution and poor overall survival independent of existing prognostic factors. To explore the genomic basis of these TTG-derived stromal phenotypes, we used a deep learning approach integrating genomic (copy number) and transcriptomic data, thereby inferring a compressed representation of copy number-driven alterations in gene expression. This integrative analysis revealed that tumors with high stromal clustering and barrier had reduced expression of pathways involved in naïve CD4 signaling, MAPK, and PI3K signaling. Taken together, our findings support the immunosuppressive role of stromal cells and T-cell exclusion within the vicinity of melanoma cells. SIGNIFICANCE: Computational histology-based stromal phenotypes within the tumor microenvironment are significantly associated with prognosis and immune exclusion in melanoma..
Al Bakir, M.
Le Quesne, J.
(2020). Geospatial immune variability illuminates differential evolution of lung adenocarcinoma. Nat med,
Remarkable progress in molecular analyses has improved our understanding of the evolution of cancer cells toward immune escape1-5. However, the spatial configurations of immune and stromal cells, which may shed light on the evolution of immune escape across tumor geographical locations, remain unaddressed. We integrated multiregion exome and RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data with spatial histology mapped by deep learning in 100 patients with non-small cell lung cancer from the TRACERx cohort6. Cancer subclones derived from immune cold regions were more closely related in mutation space, diversifying more recently than subclones from immune hot regions. In TRACERx and in an independent multisample cohort of 970 patients with lung adenocarcinoma, tumors with more than one immune cold region had a higher risk of relapse, independently of tumor size, stage and number of samples per patient. In lung adenocarcinoma, but not lung squamous cell carcinoma, geometrical irregularity and complexity of the cancer-stromal cell interface significantly increased in tumor regions without disruption of antigen presentation. Decreased lymphocyte accumulation in adjacent stroma was observed in tumors with low clonal neoantigen burden. Collectively, immune geospatial variability elucidates tumor ecological constraints that may shape the emergence of immune-evading subclones and aggressive clinical phenotypes..
(2020). Noninvasive MRI Native T1 Mapping Detects Response to MYCN-targeted Therapies in the Th-MYCN Model of Neuroblastoma. Cancer research,
Noninvasive early indicators of treatment response are crucial to the successful delivery of precision medicine in children with cancer. Neuroblastoma is a common solid tumor of young children that arises from anomalies in neural crest development. Therapeutic approaches aiming to destabilize MYCN protein, such as small-molecule inhibitors of Aurora A and mTOR, are currently being evaluated in early phase clinical trials in children with high-risk MYCN -driven disease, with limited ability to evaluate conventional pharmacodynamic biomarkers of response. T 1 mapping is an MRI scan that measures the proton spin-lattice relaxation time T 1 . Using a multiparametric MRI-pathologic cross-correlative approach and computational pathology methodologies including a machine learning-based algorithm for the automatic detection and classification of neuroblasts, we show here that T 1 mapping is sensitive to the rich histopathologic heterogeneity of neuroblastoma in the Th- MYCN transgenic model. Regions with high native T 1 corresponded to regions dense in proliferative undifferentiated neuroblasts, whereas regions characterized by low T 1 were rich in apoptotic or differentiating neuroblasts. Reductions in tumor-native T 1 represented a sensitive biomarker of response to treatment-induced apoptosis with two MYCN -targeted small-molecule inhibitors, Aurora A kinase inhibitor alisertib (MLN8237) and mTOR inhibitor vistusertib (AZD2014). Overall, we demonstrate the potential of T 1 mapping, a scan readily available on most clinical MRI scanners, to assess response to therapy and guide clinical trials for children with neuroblastoma. The study reinforces the potential role of MRI-based functional imaging in delivering precision medicine to children with neuroblastoma. SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows that MRI-based functional imaging can detect apoptotic responses to MYCN -targeted small-molecule inhibitors in a genetically engineered murine model of MYCN -driven neuroblastoma..
(2020). Immune Surveillance in Clinical Regression of Preinvasive Squamous Cell Lung Cancer. Cancer discovery,
Before squamous cell lung cancer develops, precancerous lesions can be found in the airways. From longitudinal monitoring, we know that only half of such lesions become cancer, whereas a third spontaneously regress. Although recent studies have described the presence of an active immune response in high-grade lesions, the mechanisms underpinning clinical regression of precancerous lesions remain unknown. Here, we show that host immune surveillance is strongly implicated in lesion regression. Using bronchoscopic biopsies from human subjects, we find that regressive carcinoma in situ lesions harbor more infiltrating immune cells than those that progress to cancer. Moreover, molecular profiling of these lesions identifies potential immune escape mechanisms specifically in those that progress to cancer: antigen presentation is impaired by genomic and epigenetic changes, CCL27-CCR10 signaling is upregulated, and the immunomodulator TNFSF9 is downregulated. Changes appear intrinsic to the carcinoma in situ lesions, as the adjacent stroma of progressive and regressive lesions are transcriptomically similar. SIGNIFICANCE: Immune evasion is a hallmark of cancer. For the first time, this study identifies mechanisms by which precancerous lesions evade immune detection during the earliest stages of carcinogenesis and forms a basis for new therapeutic strategies that treat or prevent early-stage lung cancer. See related commentary by Krysan et al., p. 1442 . This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1426 ..
Ben Aissa, A.
Van Loo, P.
Le Quesne, J.
(2020). The T cell differentiation landscape is shaped by tumour mutations in lung cancer. Nature cancer,
(2019). Superpixel-Based Conditional Random Fields (SuperCRF): Incorporating Global and Local Context for Enhanced Deep Learning in Melanoma Histopathology. Frontiers in oncology,
Computational pathology-based cell classification algorithms are revolutionizing the study of the tumor microenvironment and can provide novel predictive/prognosis biomarkers crucial for the delivery of precision oncology. Current algorithms used on hematoxylin and eosin slides are based on individual cell nuclei morphology with limited local context features. Here, we propose a novel multi-resolution hierarchical framework (SuperCRF) inspired by the way pathologists perceive regional tissue architecture to improve cell classification and demonstrate its clinical applications. We develop SuperCRF by training a state-of-art deep learning spatially constrained- convolution neural network (SC-CNN) to detect and classify cells from 105 high-resolution (20×) H&E-stained slides of The Cancer Genome Atlas melanoma dataset and subsequently, a conditional random field (CRF) by combining cellular neighborhood with tumor regional classification from lower resolution images (5, 1.25×) given by a superpixel-based machine learning framework. SuperCRF led to an 11.85% overall improvement in the accuracy of the state-of-art deep learning SC-CNN cell classifier. Consistent with a stroma-mediated immune suppressive microenvironment, SuperCRF demonstrated that (i) a high ratio of lymphocytes to all lymphocytes within the stromal compartment (p = 0.026) and (ii) a high ratio of stromal cells to all cells (p < 0.0001 compared to p = 0.039 for SC-CNN only) are associated with poor survival in patients with melanoma. SuperCRF improves cell classification by introducing global and local context-based information and can be implemented in combination with any single-cell classifier. SuperCRF provides valuable tools to study the tumor microenvironment and identify predictors of survival and response to therapy..
(2019). MRI Imaging of the Hemodynamic Vasculature of Neuroblastoma Predicts Response to Antiangiogenic Treatment. Cancer research,
Childhood neuroblastoma is a hypervascular tumor of neural origin, for which antiangiogenic drugs are currently being evaluated; however, predictive biomarkers of treatment response, crucial for successful delivery of precision therapeutics, are lacking. We describe an MRI-pathologic cross-correlative approach using intrinsic susceptibility (IS) and susceptibility contrast (SC) MRI to noninvasively map the vascular phenotype in neuroblastoma Th-MYCN transgenic mice treated with the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitor cediranib. We showed that the transverse MRI relaxation rate R 2 * (second -1 ) and fractional blood volume ( f BV, %) were sensitive imaging biomarkers of hemorrhage and vascular density, respectively, and were also predictive biomarkers of response to cediranib. Comparison with MRI and pathology from patients with MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma confirmed the high degree to which the Th-MYCN model vascular phenotype recapitulated that of the clinical phenotype, thereby supporting further evaluation of IS- and SC-MRI in the clinic. This study reinforces the potential role of functional MRI in delivering precision medicine to children with neuroblastoma. SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows that functional MRI predicts response to vascular-targeted therapy in a genetically engineered murine model of neuroblastoma..
(2019). Investigating the Contribution of Collagen to the Tumor Biomechanical Phenotype with Noninvasive Magnetic Resonance Elastography. Cancer research,
Increased stiffness in the extracellular matrix (ECM) contributes to tumor progression and metastasis. Therefore, stromal modulating therapies and accompanying biomarkers are being developed to target ECM stiffness. Magnetic resonance (MR) elastography can noninvasively and quantitatively map the viscoelastic properties of tumors in vivo and thus has clear clinical applications. Herein, we used MR elastography, coupled with computational histopathology, to interrogate the contribution of collagen to the tumor biomechanical phenotype and to evaluate its sensitivity to collagenase-induced stromal modulation. Elasticity ( G d ) and viscosity ( G l ) were significantly greater for orthotopic BT-474 ( G d = 5.9 ± 0.2 kPa, G l = 4.7 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 7) and luc-MDA-MB-231-LM2-4 ( G d = 7.9 ± 0.4 kPa, G l = 6.0 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 6) breast cancer xenografts, and luc-PANC1 ( G d = 6.9 ± 0.3 kPa, G l = 6.2 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 7) pancreatic cancer xenografts, compared with tumors associated with the nervous system, including GTML/ Trp53 KI/KI medulloblastoma ( G d = 3.5 ± 0.2 kPa, G l = 2.3 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 7), orthotopic luc-D-212-MG ( G d = 3.5 ± 0.2 kPa, G l = 2.3 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 7), luc-RG2 ( G d = 3.5 ± 0.2 kPa, G l = 2.3 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 5), and luc-U-87-MG ( G d = 3.5 ± 0.2 kPa, G l = 2.3 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 8) glioblastoma xenografts, intracranially propagated luc-MDA-MB-231-LM2-4 ( G d = 3.7 ± 0.2 kPa, G l = 2.2 ± 0.1 kPa, n = 7) breast cancer xenografts, and Th- MYCN neuroblastomas ( G d = 3.5 ± 0.2 kPa, G l = 2.3 ± 0.2 kPa, n = 5). Positive correlations between both elasticity ( r = 0.72, P < 0.0001) and viscosity ( r = 0.78, P < 0.0001) were determined with collagen fraction, but not with cellular or vascular density. Treatment with collagenase significantly reduced G d ( P = 0.002) and G l ( P = 0.0006) in orthotopic breast tumors. Texture analysis of extracted images of picrosirius red staining revealed significant negative correlations of entropy with G d ( r = -0.69, P < 0.0001) and G l ( r = -0.76, P < 0.0001), and positive correlations of fractal dimension with G d ( r = 0.75, P < 0.0001) and G l ( r = 0.78, P < 0.0001). MR elastography can thus provide sensitive imaging biomarkers of tumor collagen deposition and its therapeutic modulation. SIGNIFICANCE: MR elastography enables noninvasive detection of tumor stiffness and will aid in the development of ECM-targeting therapies..
(2019). Stromal cell ratio based on automated image analysis as a predictor for platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer. Bmc cancer,
Background Identifying high-risk patients for platinum resistance is critical for improving clinical management of ovarian cancer. We aimed to use automated image analysis of hematoxylin & eosin (H&E) stained sections to identify the association between microenvironmental composition and platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer.Methods Ninety-one patients with ovarian cancer containing the data of automated image analysis for H&E histological sections were initially reviewed.Results Seventy-one patients with recurrent disease were finally identified. Among 30 patients with high stromal cell ratio, 60% of the patients had platinum-resistant recurrence, which was significantly higher than the rate in patients with low stromal cell ratio (9.80%, P < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed elevated CA125 level after 3 cycles of chemotherapy (P < 0.001) and high stromal cell ratio (P = 0.002) were the negative predictors of platinum-resistant relapse. The area under the curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves of the models for predicting platinum-resistant recurrence with stromal cell ratio, normalization of CA125 level, and the combination of two parameters were 0.78, 0.79, and 0.89 respectively.Conclusions Our results demonstrated stromal cell ratio based on automated image analysis may be a potential predictor for ovarian cancer patients at high risk of platinum-resistant recurrence, and it could improve the predictive value of model when combined with normalization of CA125 level after 3 cycles of chemotherapy..
(2019). Analysis of tumour ecological balance reveals resource-dependent adaptive strategies of ovarian cancer. Ebiomedicine,
BACKGROUND:Despite treatment advances, there remains a significant risk of recurrence in ovarian cancer, at which stage it is usually incurable. Consequently, there is a clear need for improved patient stratification. However, at present clinical prognosticators remain largely unchanged due to the lack of reproducible methods to identify high-risk patients. METHODS:In high-grade serous ovarian cancer patients with advanced disease, we spatially define a tumour ecological balance of stromal resource and immune hazard using high-throughput image and spatial analysis of routine histology slides. On this basis an EcoScore is developed to classify tumours by a shift in this balance towards cancer-favouring or inhibiting conditions. FINDINGS:The EcoScore provides prognostic value stronger than, and independent of, known risk factors. Crucially, the clinical relevance of mutational burden and genomic instability differ under different stromal resource conditions, suggesting that the selective advantage of these cancer hallmarks is dependent on the context of stromal spatial structure. Under a high resource condition defined by a high level of geographical intermixing of cancer and stromal cells, selection appears to be driven by point mutations; whereas, in low resource tumours featured with high hypoxia and low cancer-immune co-localization, selection is fuelled by aneuploidy. INTERPRETATION:Our study offers empirical evidence that cancer fitness depends on tumour spatial constraints, and presents a biological basis for developing better assessments of tumour adaptive strategies in overcoming ecological constraints including immune surveillance and hypoxia..
(2018). Evaluation of CDK12 Protein Expression as a Potential Novel Biomarker for DNA Damage Response-Targeted Therapies in Breast Cancer. Molecular cancer therapeutics,
Disruption of Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 12 ( CDK12 ) is known to lead to defects in DNA repair and sensitivity to platinum salts and PARP1/2 inhibitors. However, CDK12 has also been proposed as an oncogene in breast cancer. We therefore aimed to assess the frequency and distribution of CDK12 protein expression by IHC in independent cohorts of breast cancer and correlate this with outcome and genomic status. We found that 21% of primary unselected breast cancers were CDK12 high, and 10.5% were absent, by IHC. CDK12 positivity correlated with HER2 positivity but was not an independent predictor of breast cancer-specific survival taking HER2 status into account; however, absent CDK12 protein expression significantly correlated with a triple-negative phenotype. Interestingly, CDK12 protein absence was associated with reduced expression of a number of DDR proteins including ATR, Ku70/Ku80, PARP1, DNA-PK, and γH2AX, suggesting a novel mechanism of CDK12-associated DDR dysregulation in breast cancer. Our data suggest that diagnostic IHC quantification of CDK12 in breast cancer is feasible, with CDK12 absence possibly signifying defective DDR function. This may have important therapeutic implications, particularly for triple-negative breast cancers. Mol Cancer Ther; 17(1); 306-15. ©2017 AACR ..
(2018). Relevance of Spatial Heterogeneity of Immune Infiltration for Predicting Risk of Recurrence After Endocrine Therapy of ER+ Breast Cancer. Journal of the national cancer institute,
Background Despite increasing evidence supporting the clinical utility of immune infiltration in the estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) subtype, the prognostic value of immune infiltration for ER+ disease is not well defined.Methods Quantitative immune scores of cell abundance and spatial heterogeneity were computed using a fully automated hematoxylin and eosin-stained image analysis algorithm and spatial statistics for 1178 postmenopausal patients with ER+ breast cancer treated with five years' tamoxifen or anastrozole. The prognostic significance of immune scores was compared with Oncotype DX 21-gene recurrence score (RS), PAM50 risk of recurrence (ROR) score, IHC4, and clinical treatment score, available for 963 patients. Statistical tests were two-sided.Results Scores of immune cell abundance were not associated with recurrence-free survival. In contrast, high immune spatial scores indicating increased cell spatial clustering were associated with poor 10-year, early (0-5 years), and late (5-10 years) recurrence-free survival (Immune Hotspot: LR-χ2 = 14.06, P < .001, for 0-10 years; LR-χ2 = 6.24, P = .01, for 0-5 years; LR-χ2 = 7.89, P = .005, for 5-10 years). The prognostic value of spatial scores for late recurrence was similar to that of IHC4 and RS in both populations, but was not as strong as other tests in comparison for recurrence across 10 years.Conclusions These results provide a missing link between tumor immunity and disease outcome in ER+ disease by examining tumor spatial architecture. The association between spatial scores and late recurrence suggests a lasting memory of protumor immunity that may impact disease progression and evolution of endocrine treatment resistance, which may be exploited for therapeutic advances..
de Souza, C.P.
(2018). Interfaces of Malignant and Immunologic Clonal Dynamics in Ovarian Cancer. Cell,
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) exhibits extensive malignant clonal diversity with widespread but non-random patterns of disease dissemination. We investigated whether local immune microenvironment factors shape tumor progression properties at the interface of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and cancer cells. Through multi-region study of 212 samples from 38 patients with whole-genome sequencing, immunohistochemistry, histologic image analysis, gene expression profiling, and T and B cell receptor sequencing, we identified three immunologic subtypes across samples and extensive within-patient diversity. Epithelial CD8+ TILs negatively associated with malignant diversity, reflecting immunological pruning of tumor clones inferred by neoantigen depletion, HLA I loss of heterozygosity, and spatial tracking between T cell and tumor clones. In addition, combinatorial prognostic effects of mutational processes and immune properties were observed, illuminating how specific genomic aberration types associate with immune response and impact survival. We conclude that within-patient spatial immune microenvironment variation shapes intraperitoneal malignant spread, provoking new evolutionary perspectives on HGSC clonal dispersion..
(2018). The Spatiotemporal Evolution of Lymph Node Spread in Early Breast Cancer. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the american association for cancer research,
Purpose: The most significant prognostic factor in early breast cancer is lymph node involvement. This stage between localized and systemic disease is key to understanding breast cancer progression; however, our knowledge of the evolution of lymph node malignant invasion remains limited, as most currently available data are derived from primary tumors. Experimental Design: In 11 patients with treatment-naïve node-positive early breast cancer without clinical evidence of distant metastasis, we investigated lymph node evolution using spatial multiregion sequencing ( n = 78 samples) of primary and lymph node deposits and genomic profiling of matched longitudinal circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Results: Linear evolution from primary to lymph node was rare (1/11), whereas the majority of cases displayed either early divergence between primary and nodes (4/11) or no detectable divergence (6/11), where both primary and nodal cells belonged to a single recent expansion of a metastatic clone. Divergence of metastatic subclones was driven in part by APOBEC. Longitudinal ctDNA samples from 2 of 7 subjects with evaluable plasma taken perioperatively reflected the two major evolutionary patterns and demonstrate that private mutations can be detected even from early metastatic nodal deposits. Moreover, node removal resulted in disappearance of private lymph node mutations in ctDNA. Conclusions: This study sheds new light on a crucial evolutionary step in the natural history of breast cancer, demonstrating early establishment of axillary lymph node metastasis in a substantial proportion of patients. Clin Cancer Res; 24(19); 4763-70. ©2018 AACR ..
(2018). Microenvironmental niche divergence shapes BRCA1-dysregulated ovarian cancer morphological plasticity. Nature communications,
How tumor microenvironmental forces shape plasticity of cancer cell morphology is poorly understood. Here, we conduct automated histology image and spatial statistical analyses in 514 high grade serous ovarian samples to define cancer morphological diversification within the spatial context of the microenvironment. Tumor spatial zones, where cancer cell nuclei diversify in shape, are mapped in each tumor. Integration of this spatially explicit analysis with omics and clinical data reveals a relationship between morphological diversification and the dysregulation of DNA repair, loss of nuclear integrity, and increased disease mortality. Within the Immunoreactive subtype, spatial analysis further reveals significantly lower lymphocytic infiltration within diversified zones compared with other tumor zones, suggesting that even immune-hot tumors contain cells capable of immune escape. Our findings support a model whereby a subpopulation of morphologically plastic cancer cells with dysregulated DNA repair promotes ovarian cancer progression through positive selection by immune evasion..
(2017). Non-Invasive Prostate Cancer Characterization with Diffusion-Weighted MRI: Insight from In silico Studies of a Transgenic Mouse Model. Frontiers in oncology,
Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) enables non-invasive, quantitative staging of prostate cancer via measurement of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of water within tissues. In cancer, more advanced disease is often characterized by higher cellular density (cellularity), which is generally accepted to correspond to a lower measured ADC. A quantitative relationship between tissue structure and in vivo measurements of ADC has yet to be determined for prostate cancer. In this study, we establish a theoretical framework for relating ADC measurements with tissue cellularity and the proportion of space occupied by prostate lumina, both of which are estimated through automatic image processing of whole-slide digital histology samples taken from a cohort of six healthy mice and nine transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) mice. We demonstrate that a significant inverse relationship exists between ADC and tissue cellularity that is well characterized by our model, and that a decrease of the luminal space within the prostate is associated with a decrease in ADC and more aggressive tumor subtype. The parameters estimated from our model in this mouse cohort predict the diffusion coefficient of water within the prostate-tissue to be 2.18 × 10-3 mm2/s (95% CI: 1.90, 2.55). This value is significantly lower than the diffusion coefficient of free water at body temperature suggesting that the presence of organelles and macromolecules within tissues can drastically hinder the random motion of water molecules within prostate tissue. We validate the assumptions made by our model using novel in silico analysis of whole-slide histology to provide the simulated ADC (sADC); this is demonstrated to have a significant positive correlation with in vivo measured ADC (r2 = 0.55) in our mouse population. The estimation of the structural properties of prostate tissue is vital for predicting and staging cancer aggressiveness, but prostate tissue biopsies are painful, invasive, and are prone to complications such as sepsis. The developments made in this study provide the possibility of estimating the structural properties of prostate tissue via non-invasive virtual biopsies from MRI, minimizing the need for multiple tissue biopsies and allowing sequential measurements to be made for prostate cancer monitoring..
(2017). Classifying the evolutionary and ecological features of neoplasms. Nature reviews. cancer,
Neoplasms change over time through a process of cell-level evolution, driven by genetic and epigenetic alterations. However, the ecology of the microenvironment of a neoplastic cell determines which changes provide adaptive benefits. There is widespread recognition of the importance of these evolutionary and ecological processes in cancer, but to date, no system has been proposed for drawing clinically relevant distinctions between how different tumours are evolving. On the basis of a consensus conference of experts in the fields of cancer evolution and cancer ecology, we propose a framework for classifying tumours that is based on four relevant components. These are the diversity of neoplastic cells (intratumoural heterogeneity) and changes over time in that diversity, which make up an evolutionary index (Evo-index), as well as the hazards to neoplastic cell survival and the resources available to neoplastic cells, which make up an ecological index (Eco-index). We review evidence demonstrating the importance of each of these factors and describe multiple methods that can be used to measure them. Development of this classification system holds promise for enabling clinicians to personalize optimal interventions based on the evolvability of the patient's tumour. The Evo- and Eco-indices provide a common lexicon for communicating about how neoplasms change in response to interventions, with potential implications for clinical trials, personalized medicine and basic cancer research..
(2017). Analysis of heterogeneity in T2-weighted MR images can differentiate pseudoprogression from progression in glioblastoma. Plos one,
PURPOSE: To develop an image analysis technique that distinguishes pseudoprogression from true progression by analyzing tumour heterogeneity in T2-weighted images using topological descriptors of image heterogeneity called Minkowski functionals (MFs). METHODS: Using a retrospective patient cohort (n = 50), and blinded to treatment response outcome, unsupervised feature estimation was performed to investigate MFs for the presence of outliers, potential confounders, and sensitivity to treatment response. The progression and pseudoprogression groups were then unblinded and supervised feature selection was performed using MFs, size and signal intensity features. A support vector machine model was obtained and evaluated using a prospective test cohort. RESULTS: The model gave a classification accuracy, using a combination of MFs and size features, of more than 85% in both retrospective and prospective datasets. A different feature selection method (Random Forest) and classifier (Lasso) gave the same results. Although not apparent to the reporting radiologist, the T2-weighted hyperintensity phenotype of those patients with progression was heterogeneous, large and frond-like when compared to those with pseudoprogression. CONCLUSION: Analysis of heterogeneity, in T2-weighted MR images, which are acquired routinely in the clinic, has the potential to detect an earlier treatment response allowing an early change in treatment strategy. Prospective validation of this technique in larger datasets is required..
(2016). Predicting chemoinsensitivity in breast cancer with ’omics/digital pathology data fusion. Royal society open science,
Predicting response to treatment and disease-specific deaths are key tasks in cancer research yet there is a lack of methodologies to achieve these. Large-scale ’omics and digital pathology technologies have led to the need for effective statistical methods for data fusion to extract the most useful patterns from these diverse data types. We present
, a method for combining heterogeneous data types designed specifically for predicting outcome of treatment and disease.
is a Gaussian process model that includes a generalization of feature selection for biomarker discovery, allowing for simultaneous, sparse feature selection across multiple data types. Importantly, it can accommodate highly nonlinear structure in the data, and automatically infers the optimal contribution from each input data type.
compares favourably to several popular classification methods, including the Random Forest classifier, a stepwise logistic regression model and the Support Vector Machine on single data types. By combining gene expression, copy number alteration and digital pathology image data in 119 estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and 345 ER-positive breast tumours, we aim to predict two important clinical outcomes: death and chemoinsensitivity. While gene expression data give the best predictive performance in the majority of cases, the digital pathology data are much better for predicting death in ER cases. Thus,
is a new tool for selecting informative features from heterogeneous data types and predicting treatment response and prognosis.
(2016). Biopsy variability of lymphocytic infiltration in breast cancer subtypes and the ImmunoSkew score. Scientific reports,
The number of tumour biopsies required for a good representation of tumours has been controversial. An important factor to consider is intra-tumour heterogeneity, which can vary among cancer types and subtypes. Immune cells in particular often display complex infiltrative patterns, however, there is a lack of quantitative understanding of the spatial heterogeneity of immune cells and how this fundamental biological nature of human tumours influences biopsy variability and treatment resistance. We systematically investigate biopsy variability for the lymphocytic infiltrate in 998 breast tumours using a novel virtual biopsy method. Across all breast cancers, we observe a nonlinear increase in concordance between the biopsy and whole-tumour score of lymphocytic infiltrate with increasing number of biopsies, yet little improvement is gained with more than four biopsies. Interestingly, biopsy variability of lymphocytic infiltrate differs considerably among breast cancer subtypes, with the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) subtype having the highest variability. We subsequently identify a quantitative measure of spatial variability that predicts disease-specific survival in HER2+ subtype independent of standard clinical variables (node status, tumour size and grade). Our study demonstrates how systematic methods provide new insights that can influence future study design based on a quantitative knowledge of tumour heterogeneity..
(2016). Diffusion-weighted MRI for early detection and characterization of prostate cancer in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate model. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging,
(2016). Spatial Heterogeneity in the Tumor Microenvironment. Cold spring harbor perspectives in medicine,
van Weverwijk, A.
(2016). Phosphoproteomic analysis of interacting tumor and endothelial cells identifies regulatory mechanisms of transendothelial migration. Science signaling,
Mass spectrometry reveals an EPHA2-based mechanism for the regulation of metastatic cancer cell extravasation..
(2016). Computational pathology: Exploring the spatial dimension of tumor ecology. Cancer letters,
Tumors are evolving ecosystems where cancer subclones and the microenvironment interact. This is analogous to interaction dynamics between species in their natural habitats, which is a prime area of study in ecology. Spatial statistics are frequently used in ecological studies to infer complex relations including predator-prey, resource dependency and co-evolution. Recently, the emerging field of computational pathology has enabled high-throughput spatial analysis by using image processing to identify different cell types and their locations within histological tumor samples. We discuss how these data may be analyzed with spatial statistics used in ecology to reveal patterns and advance our understanding of ecological interactions occurring among cancer cells and their microenvironment..
(2016). Similarity and diversity of the tumor microenvironment in multiple metastases: critical implications for overall and progression-free survival of high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Oncotarget,
The tumor microenvironment is pivotal in influencing cancer progression and metastasis. Different cells co-exist with high spatial diversity within a patient, yet their combinatorial effects are poorly understood. We investigate the similarity of the tumor microenvironment of 192 local metastatic lesions in 61 ovarian cancer patients. An ecologically inspired measure of microenvironmental diversity derived from multiple metastasis sites is correlated with clinicopathological characteristics and prognostic outcome. We demonstrate a high accuracy of our automated analysis across multiple sites. A low level of similarity in microenvironmental composition is observed between ovary tumor and corresponding local metastases (stromal ratio r = 0.30, lymphocyte ratio r = 0.37). We identify a new measure of microenvironmental diversity derived from Shannon entropy that is highly predictive of poor overall (p = 0.002, HR = 3.18, 95% CI = 1.51-6.68) and progression-free survival (p = 0.0036, HR = 2.83, 95% CI = 1.41-5.7), independent of and stronger than clinical variables, subtype stratifications based on single cell types alone and number of sites. Although stromal influence in ovary tumors is known to have significant clinical implications, our findings reveal an even stronger impact orchestrated by diverse cell types. Quantitative histology-based measures can further enable objective selection of patients who are in urgent need of new therapeutic strategies such as combinatorial treatments targeting heterogeneous tumor microenvironment..
Arias Garcia, M.
(2016). Microenvironmental Heterogeneity Parallels Breast Cancer Progression: A Histology-Genomic Integration Analysis. Plos medicine,
Background The intra-tumor diversity of cancer cells is under intense investigation; however, little is known about the heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment that is key to cancer progression and evolution. We aimed to assess the degree of microenvironmental heterogeneity in breast cancer and correlate this with genomic and clinical parameters.Methods and findings We developed a quantitative measure of microenvironmental heterogeneity along three spatial dimensions (3-D) in solid tumors, termed the tumor ecosystem diversity index (EDI), using fully automated histology image analysis coupled with statistical measures commonly used in ecology. This measure was compared with disease-specific survival, key mutations, genome-wide copy number, and expression profiling data in a retrospective study of 510 breast cancer patients as a test set and 516 breast cancer patients as an independent validation set. In high-grade (grade 3) breast cancers, we uncovered a striking link between high microenvironmental heterogeneity measured by EDI and a poor prognosis that cannot be explained by tumor size, genomics, or any other data types. However, this association was not observed in low-grade (grade 1 and 2) breast cancers. The prognostic value of EDI was superior to known prognostic factors and was enhanced with the addition of TP53 mutation status (multivariate analysis test set, p = 9 × 10-4, hazard ratio = 1.47, 95% CI 1.17-1.84; validation set, p = 0.0011, hazard ratio = 1.78, 95% CI 1.26-2.52). Integration with genome-wide profiling data identified losses of specific genes on 4p14 and 5q13 that were enriched in grade 3 tumors with high microenvironmental diversity that also substratified patients into poor prognostic groups. Limitations of this study include the number of cell types included in the model, that EDI has prognostic value only in grade 3 tumors, and that our spatial heterogeneity measure was dependent on spatial scale and tumor size.Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first study to couple unbiased measures of microenvironmental heterogeneity with genomic alterations to predict breast cancer clinical outcome. We propose a clinically relevant role of microenvironmental heterogeneity for advanced breast tumors, and highlight that ecological statistics can be translated into medical advances for identifying a new type of biomarker and, furthermore, for understanding the synergistic interplay of microenvironmental heterogeneity with genomic alterations in cancer cells..
(2015). A tumor DNA complex aberration index is an independent predictor of survival in breast and ovarian cancer. Mol oncol,
Complex focal chromosomal rearrangements in cancer genomes, also called "firestorms", can be scored from DNA copy number data. The complex arm-wise aberration index (CAAI) is a score that captures DNA copy number alterations that appear as focal complex events in tumors, and has potential prognostic value in breast cancer. This study aimed to validate this DNA-based prognostic index in breast cancer and test for the first time its potential prognostic value in ovarian cancer. Copy number alteration (CNA) data from 1950 breast carcinomas (METABRIC cohort) and 508 high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (TCGA dataset) were analyzed. Cases were classified as CAAI positive if at least one complex focal event was scored. Complex alterations were frequently localized on chromosome 8p (n = 159), 17q (n = 176) and 11q (n = 251). CAAI events on 11q were most frequent in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) cases and on 17q in estrogen receptor negative (ER-) cases. We found only a modest correlation between CAAI and the overall rate of genomic instability (GII) and number of breakpoints (r = 0.27 and r = 0.42, p < 0.001). Breast cancer specific survival (BCSS), overall survival (OS) and ovarian cancer progression free survival (PFS) were used as clinical end points in Cox proportional hazard model survival analyses. CAAI positive breast cancers (43%) had higher mortality: hazard ratio (HR) of 1.94 (95%CI, 1.62-2.32) for BCSS, and of 1.49 (95%CI, 1.30-1.71) for OS. Representations of the 70-gene and the 21-gene predictors were compared with CAAI in multivariable models and CAAI was independently significant with a Cox adjusted HR of 1.56 (95%CI, 1.23-1.99) for ER+ and 1.55 (95%CI, 1.11-2.18) for ER- disease. None of the expression-based predictors were prognostic in the ER- subset. We found that a model including CAAI and the two expression-based prognostic signatures outperformed a model including the 21-gene and 70-gene signatures but excluding CAAI. Inclusion of CAAI in the clinical prognostication tool PREDICT significantly improved its performance. CAAI positive ovarian cancers (52%) also had worse prognosis: HRs of 1.3 (95%CI, 1.1-1.7) for PFS and 1.3 (95%CI, 1.1-1.6) for OS. This study validates CAAI as an independent predictor of survival in both ER+ and ER- breast cancer and reveals a significant prognostic value for CAAI in high-grade serous ovarian cancer..
(2015). Mapping spatial heterogeneity in the tumor microenvironment: a new era for digital pathology. Laboratory investigation,
(2015). Beyond immune density: critical role of spatial heterogeneity in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. Modern pathology,
(2015). Modelling the spatial heterogeneity and molecular correlates of lymphocytic infiltration in triple-negative breast cancer. Journal of the royal society interface,
(2015). Global Analysis of mRNA, Translation, and Protein Localization: Local Translation Is a Key Regulator of Cell Protrusions. Developmental cell,
(2015). Quantitative histology analysis of the ovarian tumour microenvironment. Scientific reports,
Concerted efforts in genomic studies examining RNA transcription and DNA methylation patterns have revealed profound insights in prognostic ovarian cancer subtypes. On the other hand, abundant histology slides have been generated to date, yet their uses remain very limited and largely qualitative. Our goal is to develop automated histology analysis as an alternative subtyping technology for ovarian cancer that is cost-efficient and does not rely on DNA quality. We developed an automated system for scoring primary tumour sections of 91 late-stage ovarian cancer to identify single cells. We demonstrated high accuracy of our system based on expert pathologists' scores (cancer = 97.1%, stromal = 89.1%) as well as compared to immunohistochemistry scoring (correlation = 0.87). The percentage of stromal cells in all cells is significantly associated with poor overall survival after controlling for clinical parameters including debulking status and age (multivariate analysis p = 0.0021, HR = 2.54, CI = 1.40-4.60) and progression-free survival (multivariate analysis p = 0.022, HR = 1.75, CI = 1.09-2.82). We demonstrate how automated image analysis enables objective quantification of microenvironmental composition of ovarian tumours. Our analysis reveals a strong effect of the tumour microenvironment on ovarian cancer progression and highlights the potential of therapeutic interventions that target the stromal compartment or cancer-stroma signalling in the stroma-high, late-stage ovarian cancer subset..
(2015). Capture Hi-C identifies the chromatin interactome of colorectal cancer risk loci. Nat commun,
Multiple regulatory elements distant from their targets on the linear genome can influence the expression of a single gene through chromatin looping. Chromosome conformation capture implemented in Hi-C allows for genome-wide agnostic characterization of chromatin contacts. However, detection of functional enhancer-promoter interactions is precluded by its effective resolution that is determined by both restriction fragmentation and sensitivity of the experiment. Here we develop a capture Hi-C (cHi-C) approach to allow an agnostic characterization of these physical interactions on a genome-wide scale. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with complex diseases often reside within regulatory elements and exert effects through long-range regulation of gene expression. Applying this cHi-C approach to 14 colorectal cancer risk loci allows us to identify key long-range chromatin interactions in cis and trans involving these loci..
(2015). An ecological measure of immune-cancer colocalization as a prognostic factor for breast cancer. Breast cancer research : bcr,
Introduction Abundance of immune cells has been shown to have prognostic and predictive significance in many tumor types. Beyond abundance, the spatial organization of immune cells in relation to cancer cells may also have significant functional and clinical implications. However there is a lack of systematic methods to quantify spatial associations between immune and cancer cells.Methods We applied ecological measures of species interactions to digital pathology images for investigating the spatial associations of immune and cancer cells in breast cancer. We used the Morisita-Horn similarity index, an ecological measure of community structure and predator-prey interactions, to quantify the extent to which cancer cells and immune cells colocalize in whole-tumor histology sections. We related this index to disease-specific survival of 486 women with breast cancer and validated our findings in a set of 516 patients from different hospitals.Results Colocalization of immune cells with cancer cells was significantly associated with a disease-specific survival benefit for all breast cancers combined. In HER2-positive subtypes, the prognostic value of immune-cancer cell colocalization was highly significant and exceeded those of known clinical variables. Furthermore, colocalization was a significant predictive factor for long-term outcome following chemotherapy and radiotherapy in HER2 and Luminal A subtypes, independent of and stronger than all known clinical variables.Conclusions Our study demonstrates how ecological methods applied to the tumor microenvironment using routine histology can provide reproducible, quantitative biomarkers for identifying high-risk breast cancer patients. We found that the clinical value of immune-cancer interaction patterns is highly subtype-specific but substantial and independent to known clinicopathologic variables that mostly focused on cancer itself. Our approach can be developed into computer-assisted prediction based on histology samples that are already routinely collected..
(2014). Systematic evaluation of quantotypic peptides for targeted analysis of the human kinome. Nature methods,
(2012). The genomic and transcriptomic architecture of 2,000 breast tumours reveals novel subgroups. Nature,
The elucidation of breast cancer subgroups and their molecular drivers requires integrated views of the genome and transcriptome from representative numbers of patients. We present an integrated analysis of copy number and gene expression in a discovery and validation set of 997 and 995 primary breast tumours, respectively, with long-term clinical follow-up. Inherited variants (copy number variants and single nucleotide polymorphisms) and acquired somatic copy number aberrations (CNAs) were associated with expression in ~40% of genes, with the landscape dominated by cis- and trans-acting CNAs. By delineating expression outlier genes driven in cis by CNAs, we identified putative cancer genes, including deletions in PPP2R2A, MTAP and MAP2K4. Unsupervised analysis of paired DNA–RNA profiles revealed novel subgroups with distinct clinical outcomes, which reproduced in the validation cohort. These include a high-risk, oestrogen-receptor-positive 11q13/14 cis-acting subgroup and a favourable prognosis subgroup devoid of CNAs. Trans-acting aberration hotspots were found to modulate subgroup-specific gene networks, including a TCR deletion-mediated adaptive immune response in the ‘CNA-devoid’ subgroup and a basal-specific chromosome 5 deletion-associated mitotic network. Our results provide a novel molecular stratification of the breast cancer population, derived from the impact of somatic CNAs on the transcriptome..
(2012). Quantitative image analysis of cellular heterogeneity in breast tumors complements genomic profiling. Sci transl med,
Solid tumors are heterogeneous tissues composed of a mixture of cancer and normal cells, which complicates the interpretation of their molecular profiles. Furthermore, tissue architecture is generally not reflected in molecular assays, rendering this rich information underused. To address these challenges, we developed a computational approach based on standard hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissue sections and demonstrated its power in a discovery and validation cohort of 323 and 241 breast tumors, respectively. To deconvolute cellular heterogeneity and detect subtle genomic aberrations, we introduced an algorithm based on tumor cellularity to increase the comparability of copy number profiles between samples. We next devised a predictor for survival in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer that integrated both image-based and gene expression analyses and significantly outperformed classifiers that use single data types, such as microarray expression signatures. Image processing also allowed us to describe and validate an independent prognostic factor based on quantitative analysis of spatial patterns between stromal cells, which are not detectable by molecular assays. Our quantitative, image-based method could benefit any large-scale cancer study by refining and complementing molecular assays of tumor samples..
(2012). A sparse regulatory network of copy-number driven gene expression reveals putative breast cancer oncogenes. Ieee/acm trans comput biol bioinform,
UNLABELLED: Copy number aberrations are recognized to be important in cancer as they may localize to regions harboring oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Such genomic alterations mediate phenotypic changes through their impact on expression. Both cis- and transacting alterations are important since they may help to elucidate putative cancer genes. However, amidst numerous passenger genes, trans-effects are less well studied due to the computational difficulty in detecting weak and sparse signals in the data, and yet may influence multiple genes on a global scale. We propose an integrative approach to learn a sparse interaction network of DNA copy-number regions with their downstream transcriptional targets in breast cancer. With respect to goodness of fit on both simulated and real data, the performance of sparse network inference is no worse than other state-of-the-art models but with the advantage of simultaneous feature selection and efficiency. The DNA-RNA interaction network helps to distinguish copy-number driven expression alterations from those that are copy-number independent. Further, our approach yields a quantitative copy-number dependency score, which distinguishes cis- versus trans-effects. When applied to a breast cancer data set, numerous expression profiles were impacted by cis-acting copy-number alterations, including several known oncogenes such as GRB7, ERBB2, and LSM1. Several trans-acting alterations were also identified, impacting genes such as ADAM2 and BAGE, which warrant further investigation. AVAILABILITY: An R package named lol is available from www.markowetzlab.org/software/lol.html..
(2011). Penalized regression elucidates aberration hotspots mediating subtype-specific transcriptional responses in breast cancer. Bioinformatics,
MOTIVATION: Copy number alterations (CNAs) associated with cancer are known to contribute to genomic instability and gene deregulation. Integrating CNAs with gene expression helps to elucidate the mechanisms by which CNAs act and to identify the transcriptional downstream targets of CNAs. Such analyses can help to sort functional driver events from the many accompanying passenger alterations. However, the way CNAs affect gene expression can vary in different cellular contexts, for example between different subtypes of the same cancer. Thus, it is important to develop computational approaches capable of inferring differential connectivity of regulatory networks in different cellular contexts. RESULTS: We propose a statistical deregulation model that integrates copy number and expression data of different disease subtypes to jointly model common and differential regulatory relationships. Our model not only identifies CNAs driving gene expression changes, but at the same time also predicts differences in regulation that distinguish one cancer subtype from the other. We implement our model in a penalized regression framework and demonstrate in a simulation study the feasibility and accuracy of our approach. Subsequently, we show that this model can identify both known and novel aspects of cross-talk between the ER and NOTCH pathways in ER-negative-specific deregulations, when compared with ER-positive breast cancer. This flexible model can be applied on other modalities such as methylation or microRNA and expression to disentangle cancer signaling pathways. AVAILABILITY: The Bioconductor-compliant R package DANCE is available from www.markowetzlab.org/software/ CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com..
(2011). Directed Partial Correlation: Inferring Large-Scale Gene Regulatory Network through Induced Topology Disruptions. Plos one,
(2011). Patient-specific data fusion defines prognostic cancer subtypes. Plos comput biol,
Different data types can offer complementary perspectives on the same biological phenomenon. In cancer studies, for example, data on copy number alterations indicate losses and amplifications of genomic regions in tumours, while transcriptomic data point to the impact of genomic and environmental events on the internal wiring of the cell. Fusing different data provides a more comprehensive model of the cancer cell than that offered by any single type. However, biological signals in different patients exhibit diverse degrees of concordance due to cancer heterogeneity and inherent noise in the measurements. This is a particularly important issue in cancer subtype discovery, where personalised strategies to guide therapy are of vital importance. We present a nonparametric Bayesian model for discovering prognostic cancer subtypes by integrating gene expression and copy number variation data. Our model is constructed from a hierarchy of Dirichlet Processes and addresses three key challenges in data fusion: (i) To separate concordant from discordant signals, (ii) to select informative features, (iii) to estimate the number of disease subtypes. Concordance of signals is assessed individually for each patient, giving us an additional level of insight into the underlying disease structure. We exemplify the power of our model in prostate cancer and breast cancer and show that it outperforms competing methods. In the prostate cancer data, we identify an entirely new subtype with extremely poor survival outcome and show how other analyses fail to detect it. In the breast cancer data, we find subtypes with superior prognostic value by using the concordant results. These discoveries were crucially dependent on our model's ability to distinguish concordant and discordant signals within each patient sample, and would otherwise have been missed. We therefore demonstrate the importance of taking a patient-specific approach, using highly-flexible nonparametric Bayesian methods..
(2008). An unsupervised conditional random fields approach for clustering gene expression time series. Bioinformatics,
MOTIVATION: There is a growing interest in extracting statistical patterns from gene expression time-series data, in which a key challenge is the development of stable and accurate probabilistic models. Currently popular models, however, would be computationally prohibitive unless some independence assumptions are made to describe large-scale data. We propose an unsupervised conditional random fields (CRF) model to overcome this problem by progressively infusing information into the labelling process through a small variable voting pool. RESULTS: An unsupervised CRF model is proposed for efficient analysis of gene expression time series and is successfully applied to gene class discovery and class prediction. The proposed model treats each time series as a random field and assigns an optimal cluster label to each time series, so as to partition the time series into clusters without a priori knowledge about the number of clusters and the initial centroids. Another advantage of the proposed method is the relaxation of independence assumptions..
(2008). Partial mixture model for tight clustering of gene expression time-course. Bmc bioinformatics,
BACKGROUND: Tight clustering arose recently from a desire to obtain tighter and potentially more informative clusters in gene expression studies. Scattered genes with relatively loose correlations should be excluded from the clusters. However, in the literature there is little work dedicated to this area of research. On the other hand, there has been extensive use of maximum likelihood techniques for model parameter estimation. By contrast, the minimum distance estimator has been largely ignored. RESULTS: In this paper we show the inherent robustness of the minimum distance estimator that makes it a powerful tool for parameter estimation in model-based time-course clustering. To apply minimum distance estimation, a partial mixture model that can naturally incorporate replicate information and allow scattered genes is formulated. We provide experimental results of simulated data fitting, where the minimum distance estimator demonstrates superior performance to the maximum likelihood estimator. Both biological and statistical validations are conducted on a simulated dataset and two real gene expression datasets. Our proposed partial regression clustering algorithm scores top in Gene Ontology driven evaluation, in comparison with four other popular clustering algorithms. CONCLUSION: For the first time partial mixture model is successfully extended to time-course data analysis. The robustness of our partial regression clustering algorithm proves the suitability of the combination of both partial mixture model and minimum distance estimator in this field. We show that tight clustering not only is capable to generate more profound understanding of the dataset under study well in accordance to established biological knowledge, but also presents interesting new hypotheses during interpretation of clustering results. In particular, we provide biological evidences that scattered genes can be relevant and are interesting subjects for study, in contrast to prevailing opinion..
(2008). A Bayes random field approach for integrative large-scale regulatory network analysis. J integr bioinform,
We present a Bayes-Random Fields framework which is capable of integrating unlimited data sources for discovering relevant network architecture of large-scale networks. The random field potential function is designed to impose a cluster constraint, teamed with a full Bayesian approach for incorporating heterogenous data sets. The probabilistic nature of our framework facilitates robust analysis in order to minimize the influence of noise inherent in the data on the inferred structure in a seamless and coherent manner. This is later proved in its applications to both large-scale synthetic data sets and Saccharomyces Cerevisiae data sets. The analytical and experimental results reveal the varied characteristic of different types of data and refelct their discriminative ability in terms of identifying direct gene interactions..
(2006). Digital watermarking scheme exploiting nondeterministic dependence for image authentication. Optical engineering,
SuperHistopath: A Deep Learning Pipeline for Mapping Tumor Heterogeneity on Low-Resolution Whole-Slide Digital Histopathology Images. Frontiers in oncology,
High computational cost associated with digital pathology image analysis approaches is a challenge towards their translation in routine pathology clinic. Here, we propose a computationally efficient framework (SuperHistopath), designed to map global context features reflecting the rich tumor morphological heterogeneity. SuperHistopath efficiently combines i) a segmentation approach using the linear iterative clustering (SLIC) superpixels algorithm applied directly on the whole-slide images at low resolution (5x magnification) to adhere to region boundaries and form homogeneous spatial units at tissue-level, followed by ii) classification of superpixels using a convolution neural network (CNN). To demonstrate how versatile SuperHistopath was in accomplishing histopathology tasks, we classified tumor tissue, stroma, necrosis, lymphocytes clusters, differentiating regions, fat, hemorrhage and normal tissue, in 127 melanomas, 23 triple-negative breast cancers, and 73 samples from transgenic mouse models of high-risk childhood neuroblastoma with high accuracy (98.8%, 93.1% and 98.3% respectively). Furthermore, SuperHistopath enabled discovery of significant differences in tumor phenotype of neuroblastoma mouse models emulating genomic variants of high-risk disease, and stratification of melanoma patients (high ratio of lymphocyte-to-tumor superpixels (p = 0.015) and low stroma-to-tumor ratio (p = 0.028) were associated with a favorable prognosis). Finally, SuperHistopath is efficient for annotation of ground-truth datasets (as there is no need of boundary delineation), training and application (~5 min for classifying a whole-slide image and as low as ~30 min for network training). These attributes make SuperHistopath particularly attractive for research in rich datasets and could also facilitate its adoption in the clinic to accelerate pathologist workflow with the quantification of phenotypes, predictive/prognosis markers..
Unmasking the immune microecology of ductal carcinoma in situ with deep learning. Npj breast cancer,
Despite increasing evidence supporting the clinical relevance of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in invasive breast cancer, TIL spatial variability within ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) samples and its association with progression are not well understood. To characterise tissue spatial architecture and the microenvironment of DCIS, we designed and validated a new deep learning pipeline, UNMaSk. Following automated detection of individual DCIS ducts using a new method IM-Net, we applied spatial tessellation to create virtual boundaries for each duct. To study local TIL infiltration for each duct, DRDIN was developed for mapping the distribution of TILs. In a dataset comprising grade 2-3 pure DCIS and DCIS adjacent to invasive cancer (adjacent DCIS), we found that pure DCIS cases had more TILs compared to adjacent DCIS. However, the colocalisation of TILs with DCIS ducts was significantly lower in pure DCIS compared to adjacent DCIS, which may suggest a more inflamed tissue ecology local to DCIS ducts in adjacent DCIS cases. Our study demonstrates that technological developments in deep convolutional neural networks and digital pathology can enable an automated morphological and microenvironmental analysis of DCIS, providing a new way to study differential immune ecology for individual ducts and identify new markers of progression..