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African-specific prostate cancer molecular taxonomy.

Research Square 2021
Hayes V, et al.

Vanessa Hayes, Weerachai Jaratlerdsiri, Jue Jiang, Tingting Gong, Sean Patrick, Cali Willet, Tracy Chew, Ruth Lyons, Anne-Maree Haynes, Gabriela Pasqualim, Melanie Louw, James Kench, Raymond Campbell, Eva Chan, David Wedge, Rosemarie Sadsad, Ilma Brum, Shingai Mutambirwa, Phillip Stricker, Riana Bornman, Lisa Horvath

Prostate cancer is characterised by significant global disparity; mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are double to quadruple those in Eurasia1. Hypothesising unknown interplay between genetic and non-genetic factors, tumour genome profiling envisages contributing mutational processes2,3. Through whole-genome sequencing of treatment-naïve prostate cancer from 183 ethnically/globally distinct patients (African versus European), we generate the largest cancer genomics resource for Sub-Saharan Africa. Identifying ~2 million somatic variants, Africans carried the greatest burden. We describe a new molecular taxonomy using all mutational types and ethnogeographic identifiers, including Asian. Defined as Global Mutational Subtypes (GMS) A–D, although Africans presented within all subtypes, we found GMS-B to be ‘African-specific’ and GMS-D ‘African-predominant’, including Admixed and European Africans. Conversely, Europeans from Australia, Africa and Brazil predominated within ‘mutationally-quiet’ and ethnically/globally ‘universal’ GMS-A, while European Australians shared a higher mutational burden with Africans in GMS45-C. GMS predicts clinical outcomes; reconstructing cancer timelines suggests four evolutionary trajectories with different mutation rates (GMS-A, low 0.968/year versus D, highest 1.315/year). Our data suggest both common genetic factors across extant populations and regional environmental factors contributing to carcinogenesis, analogous to gene-environment interaction defined here as a different effect of an environmental surrounding in persons with different ancestries or vice versa. We anticipate GMS acting as a proxy to intrinsic and extrinsic mutational processes in cancers, promoting global inclusion in landmark studies.

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