Mutational Forks: Inferring Pathway Deregulation Based on Patient-Specific Genomics Profiles

The precise mechanism behind treatment resistance in cancer is still not fully understood. Despite advances in precision oncology, there is a lack of the tools that help to understand a mechanistic picture of treatment resistance in cancer patients. Existing enrichment methods heavily rely on quantitative data and limited to analysis of differentially expressed genes, ignoring crucial players that might be involved in this process. In order to tackle treatment resistance, the identification of deregulated flow of signal transduction is critical. Here, we introduce a bioinformatics framework that is capable of inferring deregulated flow of signal transduction given evidence-based knowledge about pathway topology and patient-specific mutations. While testing the proposed pipeline on a case study, our algorithm was able to confirm findings from biological experiment, where KRAS mutant cells developed treatment resistance to MEK inhibitor. Our model provides a framework for mechanistic understanding of acquired treatment resistance, thus, equipped clinicians with tool for searching more accurate diagnostic clues in patients with non-trivial disease representations.