BackgroundMalignant mesothelioma (MM) arises from mesothelial cells that line the pleural, peritoneal and pericardial surfaces. The majority of MMs are pleural and have been associated with asbestos exposure. Previously, pleural MMs have been genetically characterized by the loss of BAP1 (40-60%) as well as loss of NF2 (75%) and CDKN2A (60%). The rare peritoneal form of MM occurs in ~10% cases. With only ~300 cases diagnosed in the US per year, its link to asbestos exposure is not clear and its mutational landscape unknown.
MethodsWe analyzed the somatic mutational landscape of 12 peritoneal MM of epitheloid subtype using copy number analysis (N = 9), whole exome sequencing (N = 7) and targeted sequencing (N = 12).
ResultsPeritoneal MM display few copy number alterations, with most samples having less than 10 Mbp total changes, mostly through deletions and no high copy number amplification. Chromosome band 3p21 encoding BAP1 is the most recurrently deleted region (5/9), while, in contrast to pleural MM, NF2 and CDKN2A are not affected. We further identified 87 non-silent mutations across 7 sequenced tumors, with a median of 8 mutated genes per tumor, resulting in a very low mutation rate (median 1.3 10(-6)). BAP1 was the only recurrently mutated gene (N = 3/7). In one additional case, loss of the entire chromosome 3 leaves a non-functional copy of BAP1 carrying a rare nonsense germline variant, thus suggesting a potential genetic predisposition in this patient. Finally, with targeted sequencing of BAP1 in 3 additional cases, we conclude that BAP1 is frequently altered through copy number losses (N = 3/12), mutations (N = 3/12) or both (N = 2/12) sometimes at a sub-clonal level.
ConclusionOur findings suggest a major role for BAP1 in peritoneal MM susceptibility and oncogenesis and indicate important molecular differences to pleural MM as well as potential strategies for therapy and prevention.