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Created by: Vincent L Cannataro, Jeff Townsend
Issue 210: Tumor sequencing data reveal variants that have suffused throughout cancer genomes in tell-tale patterns. However, these mutational signatures do not directly represent the contribution of mutagenic processes to tumor formation, as the vast majority of variants have no role in tumorigenesis. To tie mutagenic processes to the tumor phenotype, one must determine the contribution of each variant in a tumor to increases in cellular growth and survival, and then link this quantification of cancer effect size to the likelihood each variant was fueled by each detected mutagenic process in the tumor. In a recent paper published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, Cannataro et al. made this connection in thousands of tumors of 24 cancer types. In a given tumor, the processes fueling mutation and selection are often very different. Each row in this cover image represents a different tumor type, and the different colors represent different mutational processes. The image, based off Fig. 4 in the manuscript, transitions from representing the sum of processes fueling mutation in each tumor type and the sum of the contribution of the processes to tumor phenotype, with the “phenotype” bars represented in the thumbnail.