Patterns of genomic evolution in advanced melanoma
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Genomic alterations occurring during melanoma progression and the resulting genomic heterogeneity between metastatic deposits remain incompletely understood. Analyzing 86 metastatic melanoma deposits from 53 patients with whole-exome sequencing (WES), we show a low branch to trunk mutation ratio and little intermetastatic heterogeneity, with driver mutations almost completely shared between lesions. Branch mutations consistent with UV damage indicate that metastases may arise from different subclones in the primary tumor. Selective gain of mutated BRAF alleles occurs as an early event, contrasting whole-genome duplication (WGD) occurring as a late truncal event in about 40% of cases. One patient revealed elevated mutational diversity, probably related to previous chemotherapy and DNA repair defects. In another patient having received radiotherapy toward a lymph node metastasis, we detected a radiotherapy-related mutational signature in two subsequent distant relapses, consistent with secondary metastatic seeding. Our findings add to the understanding of genomic evolution in metastatic melanomas.