NGS-based profiling reveals a critical contributing role of somatic D-loop mtDNA mutations in HBV-related hepatocarcinogenesis.

Research paper by C C Yin, D Y DY Li, X X Guo, H Y HY Cao, Y B YB Chen, F F Zhou, N J NJ Ge, Y Y Liu, S S SS Guo, Z Z Zhao, H S HS Yang, J L JL Xing

Indexed on: 21 Mar '19Published on: 20 Mar '19Published in: Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology / ESMO


Somatic mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have been extensively identified mainly by traditional Sanger sequencing technology in various cancer types. However, low detection sensitivity of traditional methods greatly limits the comprehensive profiling of mtDNA somatic mutations in cancers, especially in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Moreover, the functional roles of mtDNA mutation in HBV-related hepatocarcinogenesis have not been systematically revealed. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform was applied to profile the somatic mtDNA mutations of HCC and paired paratumor (non-HCC) tissues from a large cohort of 156 HBV-HCC patients. Our data revealed the common existence of mtDNA mutation in both inflammatory and cancer tissues with significantly different mutation pattern. The mutation density (mutation number/region length) of D-loop region was much higher than that of other regions in both HCC and non-HCC tissues. Unexpectedly, the average mutation number in D-loop region of HCC tissues was significantly less than that of non-HCC tissues. In contrast, the heteroplasmy level of D-loop region mutations was significantly increased in HCC tissues, implying that the D-loop mutations might be positively selected in HCC tissues. Furthermore, our results indicated that the patients with D-loop mutations had a significantly lower mtDNA copy number and were more likely to relapse. In vitro experiments demonstrated that proliferation, invasion and metastasis ability of HCC cells with D-loop region mutations were significantly higher than those without D-loop region mutations. These results emphasize the critical contributing role of somatic mtDNA D-loop mutations in HBV-related hepatocarcinogenesis. © The Author 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.