The mutational landscapes of genetic and chemical models of Kras-driven lung cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nature, Volume 517, Issue 7535, p.489-92 (2015)


ADENOCARCINOMA, Animals, Carcinogens, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Cell Transformation, Neoplastic, Comparative Medicine Core Facility, DISEASE PROGRESSION, DNA Copy Number Variations, Female, Genes, ras, GENOMIC INSTABILITY, Genomics Core Facility, Germ-Line Mutation, Humans, Lung Neoplasms, Male, Methylnitrosourea, MICE, Models, Genetic, Mutation, Oncogene Protein p21(ras), Point Mutation, Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras), Research Trials Office Core Facility - Biostatistics Service, Urethane


Next-generation sequencing of human tumours has refined our understanding of the mutational processes operative in cancer initiation and progression, yet major questions remain regarding the factors that induce driver mutations and the processes that shape mutation selection during tumorigenesis. Here we performed whole-exome sequencing on adenomas from three mouse models of non-small-cell lung cancer, which were induced either by exposure to carcinogens (methyl-nitrosourea (MNU) and urethane) or by genetic activation of Kras (Kras(LA2)). Although the MNU-induced tumours carried exactly the same initiating mutation in Kras as seen in the Kras(LA2) model (G12D), MNU tumours had an average of 192 non-synonymous, somatic single-nucleotide variants, compared with only six in tumours from the Kras(LA2) model. By contrast, the Kras(LA2) tumours exhibited a significantly higher level of aneuploidy and copy number alterations compared with the carcinogen-induced tumours, suggesting that carcinogen-induced and genetically engineered models lead to tumour development through different routes. The wild-type allele of Kras has been shown to act as a tumour suppressor in mouse models of non-small-cell lung cancer. We demonstrate that urethane-induced tumours from wild-type mice carry mostly (94%) Kras Q61R mutations, whereas those from Kras heterozygous animals carry mostly (92%) Kras Q61L mutations, indicating a major role for germline Kras status in mutation selection during initiation. The exome-wide mutation spectra in carcinogen-induced tumours overwhelmingly display signatures of the initiating carcinogen, while adenocarcinomas acquire additional C > T mutations at CpG sites. These data provide a basis for understanding results from human tumour genome sequencing, which has identified two broad categories of tumours based on the relative frequency of single-nucleotide variations and copy number alterations, and underline the importance of carcinogen models for understanding the complex mutation spectra seen in human cancers.