DNA-based copy number analysis confirms genomic evolution of PDX models

Hoge A+, Getz M+, Beroukhim R, Golub T, Ha G*, Ben-David U*.
bioRxiv , Jan 17 (2021).

Abstract

We previously reported the genomic evolution of the copy number (CN) landscapes of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) during their engraftment and passaging1. Woo et al. argue that the CN profiles of PDXs are highly conserved, and that the main conclusions of our paper are invalid due to our use of expression-based CN profiles2. Here, we reassess genomic evolution of PDXs using the DNA-based CN profiles reported by Woo et al. We find that the degree of genomic evolution in the DNA-based dataset of Woo et al. is similar to that which we had previously reported. While the overall Pearson’s correlation of CN profiles between primary tumors (PTs) and their derived PDXs is high (as reported in our original paper as well), a median of ~10% of the genome is differentially altered between PTs and PDXs across cohorts (range, 0% to 73% across all models). In 24% of the matched PT-PDX samples, over a quarter of the genome is differentially affected by CN alterations. Moreover, in matched analyses of PTs and their derived PDXs at multiple passages, later-passage PDXs are significantly less similar to their parental PTs than earlier-passage PDXs, indicative of genomic divergence. We conclude that genomic evolution of PDX models during model generation and propagation should not be dismissed, and that the phenotypic consequences of this evolution ought to be assessed in order to optimize the application of these valuable cancer models.