Reconstructing metastatic seeding patterns of human cancers

Johannes G. Reiter, Alvin P. Makohon-Moore, Jeffrey M. Gerold, Ivana Bozic, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue, Bert Vogelstein, Martin A. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Reconstructing the evolutionary history of metastases is critical for understanding their basic biological principles and has profound clinical implications. Genome-wide sequencing data has enabled modern phylogenomic methods to accurately dissect subclones and their phylogenies from noisy and impure bulk tumour samples at unprecedented depth. However, existing methods are not designed to infer metastatic seeding patterns. Here we develop a tool, called Treeomics, to reconstruct the phylogeny of metastases and map subclones to their anatomic locations. Treeomics infers comprehensive seeding patterns for pancreatic, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Moreover, Treeomics correctly disambiguates true seeding patterns from sequencing artifacts; 7% of variants were misclassified by conventional statistical methods. These artifacts can skew phylogenies by creating illusory tumour heterogeneity among distinct samples. In silico benchmarking on simulated tumour phylogenies across a wide range of sample purities (15-95%) and sequencing depths (25-800 ×) demonstrates the accuracy of Treeomics compared with existing methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14114
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jan 31 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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