The scientific community has avoided using tissue samples from patients that have been exposed to systemic chemotherapy to infer the genomic landscape of a given cancer. Esophageal adenocarcinoma is a heterogeneous, chemoresistant tumor for which the availability and size of pretreatment endoscopic samples are limiting. This study compares whole-genome sequencing data obtained from chemo-naive and chemo-treated samples. The quality of whole-genomic sequencing data is comparable across all samples regardless of chemotherapy status. Inclusion of samples collected post-chemotherapy increased the proportion of late-stage tumors. When comparing matched pre- and post-chemotherapy samples from 10 cases, the mutational signatures, copy number, and SNV mutational profiles reflect the expected heterogeneity in this disease. Analysis of SNVs in relation to allele-specific copy-number changes pinpoints the common ancestor to a point prior to chemotherapy. For cases in which pre- and post-chemotherapy samples do show substantial differences, the timing of the divergence is near-synchronous with endoreduplication. Comparison across a large prospective cohort (62 treatment-naive, 58 chemotherapy-treated samples) reveals no significant differences in the overall mutation rate, mutation signatures, specific recurrent point mutations, or copy-number events in respect to chemotherapy status. In conclusion, whole-genome sequencing of samples obtained following neoadjuvant chemotherapy is representative of the genomic landscape of esophageal adenocarcinoma. Excluding these samples reduces the material available for cataloging and introduces a bias toward the earlier stages of cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Genome Res

Publication Date





902 - 912