Comprehensive exome analysis of immunocompetent metastatic head and neck cancer models reveals patient relevant landscapes

Hui Li, Hoi Lam Ngan, Yuchen Liu, Helen Hoi Yin Chan, Peony Hiu Yan Poon, Chun Kit Yeung, Yibing Peng, Wai Yip Lam, Benjamin Xiaoyi Li, Yukai He, Vivian Wai Yan Lui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Immunocompetent metastatic head and neck cancer (HNC) models, although scarce, can help understanding cancer progression and therapy responses in vivo. Their comprehensive genome characterizations are essential for translational research. We first exome-sequenced the two most widely used spontaneous metastatic immunocompetent models, namely AT-84 and SCC VII, followed by comprehensive genomic analyses with three prior-sequenced models (MOC2, MOC2-10, and 4MOSC2), together with patient tumors for utility assessment. AT-84 and SCC VII bear high HNC tumor resemblance regarding mutational signatures—Trp53, Fanconi anemia, and MAPK and PI3K pathway defects. Collectively, the five models harbor genetic aberrations across 10 cancer hallmarks and 14 signaling pathways and machineries (metabolic, epigenetic, immune evasion), to extents similar in patients. Immune defects in HLA-A (H2-Q10, H2-Q4, H2-Q7, and H2-K1), Pdcd1, Tgfb1, Il2ra, Il12a, Cd40, and Tnfrsf14 are identified. Invasion/metastatic genome analyses first highlight potential druggable ERBB4 and KRAS mutations, for advanced/metastatic oral cavity cancer, as well as known metastasis players (Muc5ac, Trem3, Trp53, and Ttn) frequently captured by all models. Notable immunotherapy and precision druggable targets (Pdcd1, Erbb4, Fgfr1, H/Kras, Jak1, and Map2k2) and three druggable hubs (RTK family, MAPK, and DNA repair pathways) are frequently represented by these models. Immunocompetent metastatic HNC models are worth developing to address therapyand invasion/metastasis-related questions in host immunity contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2935
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • 5 immunocompetent metastatic HNC models
  • AT-84
  • Utility analyses
  • Whole-exome sequencing analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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