Putatively cancer-specific exon–exon junctions are shared across patients and present in developmental and other non-cancer cells

Julianne K. David, Sean K. Maden, Benjamin R. Weeder, Abhinav Nellore, Reid Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study probes the distribution of putatively cancer-specific junctions across a broad set of publicly available non-cancer human RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) datasets. We compared cancer and non-cancer RNA-seq data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project and the Sequence Read Archive. We found that (i) averaging across cancer types, 80.6% of exon–exon junctions thought to be cancer-specific based on comparison with tissue-matched samples (σ = 13.0%) are in fact present in other adult non-cancer tissues throughout the body; (ii) 30.8% of junctions not present in any GTEx or TCGA normal tissues are shared by multiple samples within at least one cancer type cohort, and 87.4% of these distinguish between different cancer types; and (iii) many of these junctions not found in GTEx or TCGA normal tissues (15.4% on average, σ = 2.4%) are also found in embryological and other developmentally associated cells. These findings refine the meaning of RNA splicing event novelty, particularly with respect to the human neoepitope repertoire. Ultimately, cancer-specific exon–exon junctions may have a substantial causal relationship with the biology of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberzcaa001
JournalNAR Cancer
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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