Quentin Bayard, Pierre Cordier, Camille Péneau, Sandrine Imbeaud, Theo Z. Hirsch, Victor Renault, Jean-Charles Nault, Jean-Frederic Blanc, Julien Calderaro, Chantal Desdouets, Jessica Zucman-Rossi, Eric Letouzé.
Oncogene activation leads to replication stress and promotes genomic instability. Here we combine optical mapping and whole genome sequencing to explore in depth the nature of structural variants (SV) induced by replication stress in cyclin-activated hepatocellular carcinomas (CCN-HCC). In addition to classical tandem duplications, CCN-HCC displayed frequent intrachromosomal and interchromosomal templated insertion cycles (TIC) likely resulting from template switching events. Template switching preferentially involves active topologically associated domains that are proximal to one another within the 3D genome. Template sizes depend on the type of cyclin activation and are coordinated within each TIC. Replication stress induced continuous accumulation of SVs during CCN-HCC progression, fostering the acquisition of new driver alterations and large-scale copy-number changes at TIC borders. Together, this analysis sheds light on the mechanisms, dynamics, and consequences of SV accumulation in tumors with oncogene-induced replication stress.