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A variety of mutational processes drive cancer development, but their dynamics across the entire disease spectrum from pre-cancerous to advanced neoplasia are poorly understood. We explore the mutagenic processes shaping oesophageal adenocarcinoma tumorigenesis in 997 instances comprising distinct stages of this malignancy, from Barrett Oesophagus to primary tumours and advanced metastatic disease. The mutational landscape is dominated by the C[T > C/G]T substitution enriched signatures SBS17a/b, which are linked with TP53 mutations, increased proliferation, genomic instability and disease progression. The APOBEC mutagenesis signature is a weak but persistent signal amplified in primary tumours. We also identify prevalent alterations in DNA damage repair pathways, with homologous recombination, base and nucleotide excision repair and translesion synthesis mutated in up to 50% of the cohort, and surprisingly uncoupled from transcriptional activity. Among these, the presence of base excision repair deficiencies show remarkably poor prognosis in the cohort. In this work, we provide insights on the mutational aetiology and changes enabling the transition from pre-neoplastic to advanced oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature communications

Publication Date





Early Cancer Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


OCCAMS Consortium, Humans, Adenocarcinoma, Esophageal Neoplasms, Mutagenesis, Mutation