The accumulations of different types of genetic alterations such as nucleotide substitutions, structural rearrangements and viral genome integrations and epigenetic alterations contribute to carcinogenesis. Here, we report correlation between the occurrence of epigenetic features and genetic aberrations by whole-genome bisulfite, whole-genome shotgun, long-read, and virus capture sequencing of 373 liver cancers. Somatic substitutions and rearrangement breakpoints are enriched in tumor-specific hypo-methylated regions with inactive chromatin marks and actively transcribed highly methylated regions in the cancer genome. Individual mutation signatures depend on chromatin status, especially, signatures with a higher transcriptional strand bias occur within active chromatic areas. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) integration sites are frequently detected within inactive chromatin regions in cancer cells, as a consequence of negative selection for integrations in active chromatin regions. Ultra-high structural instability and preserved unmethylation of integrated HBV genomes are observed. We conclude that both precancerous and somatic epigenetic features contribute to the cancer genome architecture.
The hepatitis viruses represent a major public health problem worldwide. Procedures for characterization of the genomic composition of their populations, accurate diagnosis, identification of multiple infections, and information on inhibitor-escape mutants for treatment decisions are needed. Deep sequencing methodologies are extremely useful for these viruses since they replicate as complex and dynamic quasispecies swarms whose complexity and mutant composition are biologically relevant traits. Population complexity is a major challenge for disease prevention and control, but also an opportunity to distinguish among related but phenotypically distinct variants that might anticipate disease progression and treatment outcome. Detailed characterization of mutant spectra should permit choosing better treatment options, given the increasing number of new antiviral inhibitors available. In the present review we briefly summarize our experience on the use of deep sequencing for the management of hepatitis virus infections, particularly for hepatitis B and C viruses, and outline some possible new applications of deep sequencing for these important human pathogens. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.