The effects of mutational processes and selection on driver mutations across cancer types

Daniel Temko, Ian Tomlinson, Simone Severini, Benjamin Schuster-Böckler, Trevor A. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
170 Downloads (Pure)


Epidemiological evidence has long associated environmental mutagens with increased cancer risk. However, links between specific mutation-causing processes and the acquisition of individual driver mutations have remained obscure. Here we have used public cancer sequencing data from 11,336 cancers of various types to infer the independent effects of mutation and selection on the set of driver mutations in a cancer type. First, we detect associations between a range of mutational processes, including those linked to smoking, ageing, APOBEC and DNA mismatch repair (MMR) and the presence of key driver mutations across cancer types. Second, we quantify differential selection between well-known alternative driver mutations, including differences in selection between distinct mutant residues in the same gene. These results show that while mutational processes have a large role in determining which driver mutations are present in a cancer, the role of selection frequently dominates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1857
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date10 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of mutational processes and selection on driver mutations across cancer types'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this