The full journal article is available in Accepted for Publication in PLOS ONE in February 2022
Cancer genomic heterogeneity presents significant challenges for understanding oncogenic processes and for cancer’s clinical management. Variation in driver mutation frequency between patients with the same tumor type as well as within individual patients’ cancers can limit the power of mutations to serve as diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers. We have characterized genomic heterogeneity between and within patients in canine splenic hemangiosarcoma (HSA), a common naturally occurring cancer in pet dogs that is similar to human angiosarcoma (AS). HSA is a clinically, physiologically, and genomically complex canine cancer that may serve as a valuable model for understanding the origin and clinical impact of cancer heterogeneity. We conducted a prospective collection of 52 splenic masses from 44 dogs (28 HSA, 15 benign masses, and 1 stromal sarcoma) presenting to emergency care with hemoperitoneum secondary to a ruptured splenic mass. Multi-platform genomic analysis included matched tumor/normal cancer gene panel and exome sequencing. We found candidate somatic cancer driver mutations in 14/28 (50%) HSAs. Among recurrent candidate driver mutations, TP53 was most commonly mutated (29%) followed by PIK3CA (14%), AKT1 (11%), and CDKN2AIP (11%). We also identified significant intratumoral genomic heterogeneity, consistent with a branched evolution model, through multi-region exome sequencing of three distinct tumor regions from selected primary splenic tumors. These data provide new perspective on the genomic landscape and comparative value of understanding HSA in pet dogs, particularly as a naturally occurring cancer bearing intratumoral heterogeneity.