Aberrant integration of Hepatitis B virus DNA promotes major restructuring of human hepatocellular carcinoma genome architecture

Most cancers are characterized by the somatic acquisition of genomic rearrangements during tumour evolution that eventually drive the oncogenesis. There are different mutational mechanisms causing structural variation, some of which are specific to particular cancer types. Here, using multiplatform sequencing technologies, we identify and characterize a remarkable mutational mechanism in human hepatocellular carcinoma caused by Hepatitis B virus, by which DNA molecules from the virus are inserted into the tumour genome causing dramatic changes in its configuration, including non-homologous chromosomal fusions and megabase-size telomeric deletions. This aberrant mutational process, present in at least 8% of all HCC tumours, is active early during liver cancer evolution and can provide the driver rearrangements that a cancer clone requires to survive and grow.

Authors: Eva G. Álvarez, Jonas Demeulemeester, Clemency Jolly, Daniel García-Souto, Paula Otero, Ana Pequeño, Jorge Zamora, Marta Tojo, Javier Temes, Adrian Baez-Ortega, Bernardo Rodríguez-Martín, Yilong Li, Ana Oitaben, Alicia L. Bruzos, Mónica Martínez-Fernández, Kerstin Haase, Martin Santamarina, Sonia Zumalave, Rosanna Abal, Jorge Rodríguez-Castro, Aitor Rodriguez-Casanova, Angel Diaz-Lagares, Keiran Raine, Adam P. Butler, Atsuhi Ono, Hiroshi Aikata, Kazuaki Chayama, Masaki Ueno, Shinya Hayami, Hiroki Yamaue, Miguel G. Blanco, Xavier Forns, Carmen Rivas, Sofía Pérez-del-Pulgar, Raúl Torres-Ruiz, Sandra Rodríguez Perales, Urtzi Garaigorta, Hidewaki Nakagawa, Peter J. Campbell, Peter Van Loo, Jose M. C. Tubio