Recent studies have characterized the extensive somatic alterations that arise during cancer. However, the somatic evolution of a tumor may be significantly affected by inherited polymorphisms carried in the germline. Here, we analyze genomic data for 5954 tumors to reveal and systematically validate 412 genetic interactions between germline polymorphisms and major somatic events, including tumor formation in specific tissues and alteration of specific cancer genes. Among germline-somatic interactions, we find germline variants in RBFOX1 that increase incidence of SF3B1 somatic mutation by eight-fold via functional alterations in RNA splicing. Similarly, 19p13.3 variants are associated with a four-fold increased likelihood of somatic mutations in PTEN. In support of this association, we find that PTEN knock-down sensitizes the MTOR pathway to high expression of the 19p13.3 gene GNA11. Finally, we observe that stratifying patients by germline polymorphisms exposes distinct somatic mutation landscapes, implicating new cancer genes. This study creates a validated resource of inherited variants that govern where and how cancer develops, opening avenues for prevention research.
- Received September 16, 2016.
- Revision received February 6, 2017.
- Accepted February 8, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.