Chromosome abnormalities in ovarian adenocarcinoma: III. Using breakpoint data to infer and test mathematical models for oncogenesis.
Cancer geneticists seek to identify genetic changes in tumor cells and to relate the genetic changes to tumor development. Because single changes can disrupt the cell cycle and promote other genetic changes, it is extremely hard to distinguish cause from effect. In this article we illustrate how 7 techniques from statistics, theoretical computer science, and phylogenetics can be used to infer and test possible models of tumor progression from single genome-wide descriptions of aberrations in a large sample of tumors. Specifically, we propose 4 tree models for tumor progression inferred from the large ovarian cancer data set described in the first 2 articles in this series. The models are derived from 2 different methods to select the non-random genetic aberrations and 2 different methods to infer the trees, given a set of events. Various aspects of the tree models are tested and extended by 5 methods: overall tests of independence, likelihood ratio tests, principal components analysis, directed acyclic graph modeling, and Bayesian survival analysis. All our methods lead to strikingly consistent conclusions about chromosomal breakpoints in ovarian adenocarcinoma, including (1) the non-random breakpoints in ovarian adenocarcinoma do not occur independently; (2) breakpoints in regions 1p3 and 11p1 are important early events and distinguish a class of tumors associated with poor prognosis; and (3) breakpoints in 1p1, 3p1, and 1q2 distinguish a class of ovarian tumors, and the breaks at 1p1 and 3p1 are associated with poor prognosis.