Gene mutations distinguishing gastric from colorectal and esophageal adenocarcinomas

Tuyen Hoang, Anand K. Ganesan, Darryl Hiyama, Farshid Dayyani


strong>Background: Genetic analysis of gastrointestinal malignancies shows a great number of mutations. Most mutations found in gastric tumors are also found in colorectal and esophageal tumors. The challenge remains to identify mutations that distinguish gastric from colorectal and esophageal cancers. Using open-access cancer genomics data, we sought to identify mutations that accounted for the unique phenotypic features of gastric tumors.
Methods: Thirteen cancer genomics datasets with demographic, clinical, and genetic variables were analyzed. Pathologic stage and histology were compared between subjects with and without a specific mutated gene using two-sample t-tests, adjusted for multiple gene testing. Sequence convergence and functional impact of genetic mutations were analyzed using permutation test and PolyPhen-2 score.
Results: Analysis included 1,915 subjects with valid pathologic stage and histology. Mean age was 68 years (SD =10). About 54% were female. The most common race was Caucasian (37%) while minorities were rare with high rates of missing data (44%). Pathologic stage: 20% stage I, 35% stage II, 31% stage III, and 14% stage IV. Anatomical location: 30% gastric, 59% colorectal, and 11% esophageal. Histology of gastric cancer: 61% intestinal, 23% diffuse, 15% mixed, and 1% missing. Two mutated genes—CDH1, RHOA—distinguished gastric from colorectal and esophageal tumors. These mutations were highly specific to diffuse histology and advanced stages of gastric tumors and recurrent in transcribed regions known to impact protein functions.
Conclusions: CDH1 and RHOA regulate cell-cell adhesion which is vital to cell growth and proliferation. Identification of these potential driver mutations is critical to better define therapeutic vulnerabilities for the rational design of gastric cancer therapies.