Genomic Landscape of Primary and Recurrent Anal Squamous Cell Carcinomas in Relation to HPV Integration, Copy-Number Variation, and DNA Damage Response Genes

Date Published:

2021 Aug


The incidence of anal squamous cell carcinoma (ASCC) has been increasing, particularly in populations with HIV. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the causal factor in 85% to 90% of ASCCs, but few studies evaluated HPV genotypes and integrations in relation to genomic alterations in ASCC. Using whole-exome sequence data for primary (n = 56) and recurrent (n = 31) ASCC from 72 patients, we detected HPV DNA in 87.5% of ASCC, of which HPV-16, HPV-18, and HPV-6 were detected in 56%, 22%, and 33% of HIV-positive (n = 9) compared with 83%, 3.2%, and 1.6% of HIV-negative cases (n = 63), respectively. Recurrent copy-number variations (CNV) involving genes with documented roles in cancer included amplification of PI3KCA and deletion of APC in primary and recurrent tumors; amplifications of CCND1, MYC, and NOTCH1 and deletions of BRCA2 and RB1 in primary tumors; and deletions of ATR, FANCD2, and FHIT in recurrent tumors. DNA damage response genes were enriched among recurrently deleted genes in recurrent ASCCs (P = 0.001). HPV integrations were detected in 29 of 76 (38%) ASCCs and were more frequent in stage III-IV versus stage I-II tumors. HPV integrations were detected near MYC and CCND1 amplifications and recurrent targets included NFI and MUC genes. These results suggest HPV genotypes in ASCC differ by HIV status, HPV integration is associated with ASCC progression, and DNA damage response genes are commonly disrupted in recurrent ASCCs. IMPLICATIONS: These data provide the largest whole-exome sequencing study of the ASCC genomic landscape to date and identify HPV genotypes, integrations, and recurrent CNVs in primary or recurrent ASCCs.