Somatic mutations have been found in the mitochondria in different types of cancer cells, but it is not clear whether these affect tumorigenesis or tumor progression. We analyzed mitochondrial genomes of 268 early-stage, resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tissues and paired non-tumor tissues. We defined a mitochondrial somatic mutation (mtSNV) as a position where the difference in heteroplasmy fraction between tumor and normal sample was ≥0.2. Our analysis identified 304 mtSNVs, with at least 1 mtSNV in 61% (164 of 268) of tumor samples. The noncoding control region had the greatest proportion of mtSNVs (60 of 304 mutations); this region contains sites that regulate mitochondrial DNA transcription and replication. Frequently mutated genes included ND5, RNR2, and CO1, plus 29 mutations in transfer RNA genes. mtSNVs in 2 separate mitochondrial genes (ND4 and ND6) were associated with shorter overall survival time. This association appeared to depend on the level of mtSNV heteroplasmy. Non-random co-occurrence between mtSNVs and mutations in nuclear genes indicates interactions between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. In an analysis of primary tumors and metastases from 6 patients, we found tumors to accumulate mitochondrial mutational mutations as they progress.
- Pancreatic Cancer
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