BC genomes from CHEK2 mutation carriers were most similar to ER+ BC genomes and least similar to those of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers in terms of tumor mutational burden as well as mutational signatures. Moreover, CHEK2 BC genomes did not show any evidence of HRD. Somatic TP53 mutation frequency and the size distribution of structural variants (SVs), however, were different compared to ER+ BC. Interestingly, BC genomes with bi-allelic CHEK2 inactivation lacked somatic TP53 mutations and transcriptomic analysis indicated a shared biology with TP53 mutant BC. Moreover, CHEK2 BC genomes had an increased frequency of > 1 Mb deletions, inversions and tandem duplications with peaks at specific sizes. The high chromothripsis frequency among CHEK2 BC genomes appeared, however, not associated with this unique SV size distribution profile.
CHEK2 c.1100delC was the first moderate-risk breast cancer (BC) susceptibility allele discovered. Despite several genomic, transcriptomic and functional studies, however, it is still unclear how exactly CHEK2 c.1100delC promotes tumorigenesis. Since the mutational landscape of a tumor reflects the processes that have operated on its development, the aim of this study was to uncover the somatic genomic landscape of CHEK2-associated BC.
CHEK2 BC genomes are most similar to ER+ BC genomes, but display unique features that may further unravel CHEK2-driven tumorigenesis. Increased insight into this mechanism could explain the shorter survival of CHEK2 mutation carriers that is likely driven by intrinsic tumor aggressiveness rather than endocrine resistance.
We sequenced primary BC (pBC) and normal genomes of 20 CHEK2 c.1100delC mutation carriers as well as their pBC transcriptomes. Including pre-existing cohorts, we exhaustively compared CHEK2 pBC genomes to those from BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, those that displayed homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) and ER- and ER+ pBCs, totaling to 574 pBC genomes. Findings were validated in 517 metastatic BC genomes subdivided into the same subgroups. Transcriptome data from 168 ER+ pBCs were used to derive a TP53-mutant gene expression signature and perform cluster analysis with CHEK2 BC transcriptomes. Finally, clinical outcome of CHEK2 c.1100delC carriers was compared with BC patients displaying somatic TP53 mutations in two well-described retrospective cohorts totaling to 942 independent pBC cases.