Integrative analysis of large-scale loss-of-function screens identifies robust cancer-associated genetic interactions.
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Genetic interactions, including synthetic lethal effects, can now be systematically identified in cancer cell lines using high-throughput genetic perturbation screens. Despite this advance, few genetic interactions have been reproduced across multiple studies and many appear highly context-specific. Here, by developing a new computational approach, we identified 220 robust driver-gene associated genetic interactions that can be reproduced across independent experiments and across non-overlapping cell line panels. Analysis of these interactions demonstrated that: (i) oncogene addiction effects are more robust than oncogene-related synthetic lethal effects; and (ii) robust genetic interactions are enriched among gene pairs whose protein products physically interact. Exploiting the latter observation, we used a protein-protein interaction network to identify robust synthetic lethal effects associated with passenger gene alterations and validated two new synthetic lethal effects. Our results suggest that protein-protein interaction networks can be used to prioritise therapeutic targets that will be more robust to tumour heterogeneity.
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eLife, 2020, 9