New publication: Whole-genome mapping of APOBEC mutagenesis in metastatic urothelial carcinoma identifies driver hotspot mutations and a novel mutational signature.


Apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like (APOBEC) enzymes mutate specific DNA sequences and hairpin-loop structures, challenging the distinction between passenger and driver hotspot mutations. Here, we characterized 115 whole genomes of metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) to identify APOBEC mutagenic hotspot drivers. APOBEC-associated mutations were detected in 92% of mUCs and were equally distributed across the genome, while APOBEC hotspot mutations (ApoHMs) were enriched in open chromatin. Hairpin loops were frequent targets of didymi (twins in Greek), two hotspot mutations characterized by the APOBEC SBS2 signature, in conjunction with an uncharacterized mutational context (Ap[C>T]). Next, we developed a statistical framework that identified ApoHMs as drivers in coding and non-coding genomic regions of mUCs. Our results and statistical framework were validated in independent cohorts of 23 non-metastatic UCs and 3,744 samples of 17 metastatic cancers, identifying cancer-type-specific drivers. Our study highlights the role of APOBEC in cancer development and may contribute to developing novel targeted therapy options for APOBEC-driven cancers.

Keywords: APOBEC; breast cancer; didymi; driver mutations; hairpin loops; hotspot mutations; mutational signature; pan-cancer; twin mutations; urothelial carcinoma.



Apr 10, 2024