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Impact on disease development, genomic location and biological function of copy number alterations in non-small cell lung cancer

Lung cancer, of which more than 80% is non-small cell, is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Copy number alterations (CNAs) in lung cancer have been shown to be positionally clustered in certain genomic regions. However, it remains unclear whether genes with copy number changes are functionally clustered. Using a dense single nucleotide polymorphism array, we performed genome-wide copy number analyses of a large collection of non-small cell lung tumors (n = 301). We proposed a formal statistical test for CNAs between different groups (e.g., non-involved lung vs. tumors, early vs. late stage tumors). We also customized the gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) algorithm to investigate the overrepresentation of genes with CNAs in predefined biological pathways and gene sets (i.e., functional clustering). We found that CNAs events increase substantially from germline, early stage to late stage tumor. In addition to genomic position, CNAs tend to occur away from the gene locations, especially in germline, non-involved tissue and early stage tumors. Such tendency decreases from germline to early stage and then to late stage tumors, suggesting a relaxation of selection during tumor progression. Furthermore, genes with CNAs in non-small cell lung tumors were enriched in certain gene sets and...

Huang, Yen-Tsung; Lin, Xihong; Chirieac, Lucien R.; McGovern, Ray; Wain, John C.; Heist, Rebecca S:; Skaug, Vidar; Zienolddiny, Shanbeh; Haugen, Aage; Su, Li; Christiani, David C.
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