Robust genomic copy number predictor of pan cancer metastasis

Alexander Pearlman, Kinnari Upadhyay, Kim Cole, John Loke, Katherine Sun, Susan Fineberg, Stephen J. Freedland, Yongzhao Shao, Harry Ostrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Copy number alterations(CNAs) are the most common genetic changes observed in many cancers, reflecting the innate chromosomal instability of this disorder. Yet, how these alterations affect gene function to promote metastases across different tumor types has not been established. In this study, we developed a pan-cancer metastasis potential score (panMPS) based on observed CNAs. panMPS predicts metastasis and metastasis-free survival in cohorts of patients with prostate cancer, triple negative breast cancer and lung adenocarcinoma, and overall survival in the Metabric breast cancer cohort and three cohorts from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), including prostate, breast and lung adenocarcinoma. These CNAs are present in cell lines of metastatic tumors from eight different origins, reflected by an elevated panMPS for all cell lines. Many copy number alterations involve large chromosomal segments that encompass multiple genes (“clumps”). We show that harnessing this structural information to select only one gene per clump captures the contributions of other genes within the clump, resulting in a robust predictor of metastasis outcome. These sets of selected genes are distinct from cancer drivers that undergo mutation, and in fact, metastasis-related functions have been published for over half of them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-884
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and Cancer
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Cancer
  • Genomic
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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