The Simulated Random Assignment of Missense Mutations Throughout a Gene of Interest Can Determine Whether Missense Mutations Found in That Gene in a Population of Tumor Genomes Are Non-Randomly Distributed v1

Richard L Cullum, David J Riese II


Human malignancies result from the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes to normal cells. In many malignancies, gain-of-function mutations in oncogenes and loss-of-function mutations in tumor suppressor genes drive tumorigenesis and tumor progression. The identification of tumor driver mutations and the genes that host such mutations is critical for the molecular staging and targeted therapy of malignancies. Since tumor driver mutations cause tumorigenesis or tumor progression, the proliferation of tumor cells selects for these mutations. Thus, in a gene that hosts tumor driver mutations, there will be a non-random distribution of mutations across the gene, as mutations that provide a selective advantage for the tumor cells will predominate over mutations that do not provide a selective advantage for the tumor cells. Consider a particular gene in a population of tumor genomes; the total number of coincident missense mutations in that gene, defined here as two or more missense mutations that affect a particular codon, will be greater than the total number of coincident missense mutations that arise through random assignment of missense mutations across the gene. Consequently, here we use the R Statistical Computing envi...Continue Reading

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