Genomic and epigenomic basis of breast invasive lobular carcinomas lacking CDH1 genetic alterations

npj Precision Oncology(2024)

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CDH1 (E-cadherin) bi-allelic inactivation is the hallmark alteration of breast invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), resulting in its discohesive phenotype. A subset of ILCs, however, lack CDH1 genetic/epigenetic inactivation, and their genetic underpinning is unknown. Through clinical targeted sequencing data reanalysis of 364 primary ILCs, we identified 25 ILCs lacking CDH1 bi-allelic genetic alterations. CDH1 promoter methylation was frequent (63%) in these cases. Targeted sequencing reanalysis revealed 3 ILCs harboring AXIN2 deleterious fusions ( n = 2) or loss-of-function mutation ( n = 1). Whole-genome sequencing of 3 cases lacking bi-allelic CDH1 genetic/epigenetic inactivation confirmed the AXIN2 mutation and no other cell-cell adhesion genetic alterations but revealed a new CTNND1 (p120) deleterious fusion. AXIN2 knock-out in MCF7 cells resulted in lobular-like features, including increased cellular migration and resistance to anoikis. Taken together, ILCs lacking CDH1 genetic/epigenetic alterations are driven by inactivating alterations in other cell adhesion genes ( CTNND1 or AXIN2 ), endorsing a convergent phenotype in ILC.
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