Somatic mutations in renal cell carcinomas from Chinese patients revealed by whole exome sequencing

Jie Wang, Zhijun Xi, Jianzhong Xi, Hanshuo Zhang, Juan Li, Yuchao Xia, Yuanxue Yi
Cancer Cell International 2018, 18: 159

Background: While the somatic mutation profiles of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) have been revealed by several studies worldwide, the overwhelming majority of those were not derived from Chinese patients. The landscape of somatic alterations in RCC from Chinese patients still needs to be elucidated to determine whether discrepancies exist between Chinese patients and sufferers from other countries and regions.

Methods: We collected specimens from 26 Chinese patients with primary RCC, including 15 clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) samples, 5 papillary renal cell carcinoma (PRCC) samples and 6 chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (ChRCC) samples. Genomic DNAs were isolated from paired tumor-normal tissues and subjected to whole exome sequencing (WES). Immunohistochemistry analysis was performed to detect the programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in tumor tissues.

Results: A total of 1920 nonsynonymous somatic variants in exons and 86 mutations at splice junctions were revealed. The tumor mutation burden of ccRCC was significantly higher than that of ChRCC (P < 0.05). For both ccRCC and PRCC, the most frequent substitution in somatic missense mutations was T:A > A:T, which was different from that recorded in the COSMIC database. Among eight significantly mutated genes in ccRCC in the TCGA database, six genes were verified in our study including VHL (67%) , BAP1 (13%) , SETD2 (13%), PBRM1 (7%) , PTEN (7%) and MTOR (7%). All the mutations detected in those genes had not been reported in ccRCC before, except for alterations in VHL and PBRM1 . Regarding the frequently mutated genes in PRCC in our study, DEPDC4 (p.E293A, p.T279A), PNLIP (p.N401Y, p.F342L) and SARDH (p.H554Q, p.M1T) were newly detected gene mutations predicted to be deleterious. As the most recurrently mutated gene in ChRCC in the TCGA dataset, TP53 (p.R81Q) was somatically altered only in one ChRCC case in this study. The HIF-1 signaling pathway was the most affected pathway in ccRCC, while the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway was altered in all of the three RCC types. Membranous PD-L1 expression was positive in tumor cells from 6/26 (23%) RCC specimens. The PD-L1-positive rate was higher in RCC samples with the somatically mutated genes CSPG4 , DNAH11 , INADL and TMPRSS13 than in specimens without those (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Using WES, we identified somatic mutations in 26 Chinese patients with RCC, which enriched the racial diversity of the somatic mutation profiles of RCC subjects, and revealed a few discrepancies in molecular characterizations between our study and published datasets. We also identified numerous newly detected somatic mutations, which further supplements the somatic mutation landscape of RCC. Moreover, 4 somatically mutated genes, including CSPG4 , DNAH11 , INADL and TMPRSS13 , might be promising predictive factors of PD-L1-positive expression in RCC tumor cells.


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