Loading Data

concordance = TRUE,
background = "#f3f3ff"



TRONCO transforms input data in a sort of database-alike format, where three main fields are presente: genotypes which contains the genomic signatures of the input samples, annotations which provides an index to the events present in the data and types, a field mapping type of events (e.g., mutations, CNAs, etc.) to colors for display visualization. Other annotations are generated when a dataset is augmented with some metadata. A TRONCO object shall be edited by using TRONCO functions, to avoid to create inconsistencies in its internal representation. Function is.compliant can be used to test if a TRONCO object is consistent; the function is called by any TRONCO function before returning a modified object, so to ensure that consistency is preserved -- is.compliant will raise an error if this is not the case.

TRONCO supports the import of data from 3 formats. The Mutation Annotation Format (MAF) is a tab-delimited file containing somatic and/or germline mutation annotations; the GISTIC format for copy number alterations as defined by TCGA and a custom boolean matrix format where the user can directly specify the mutational profiles to be importend. Through some data included in the package we will show how to load your datasets in TRONCO.

Whatever is dataset created as explained in the next sections, it can be annotated by adding a mnemonic description of the data, which will be used as plot titles when possible. Function annotate.description raises a warning if the dataset was previously annotated.

aCML = annotate.description(aCML, 'aCML data (Bioinf.)')

Mutations annotated in a MAF format

We use the function import.MAF to import a dataset in MAF format, in this case the following TCGA dataset

head(crc_maf[, 1:10])

A default importation is done without adding parameters to import.MAF. In this case, all mutations per gene will be considered equivalent, regardless of the type that is annotated in the MAF. Also, all genes will be imported, and all samples.

dataset_maf = import.MAF(crc_maf)

In the above case -- where we see that mutations are annotated as Missense_Mutation or Nonsense_Mutation, if a gene in a sample has both, these will be merged to a unique Mutation type. In this case a pair gene name with Mutation will be what we call an event in our dataset -- e.g., APC Mutation. If one would like to have two distinct events in the dataset, i.e., APC Missense_Mutation and APC Nonsense_Mutation, parameter merge.mutation.types should be set to false in the call to import.MAF.

dataset_maf = import.MAF(crc_maf, merge.mutation.types = FALSE)

Sometimes, we might want to filter out some of the entries in a MAF -- maybe restricting the type of genes, mutations or sample that we want to process. If one defines filter.fun as a function that returns TRUE only for those entries which shall be considered, he gets a filter process which is applied to each row of the MAF file prior to transforming that into a TRONCO dataset. In this example we select only mutations annotated to APC -- we access that through the Hugo_Symbol flag of a MAF.

dataset_maf = import.MAF(crc_maf, filter.fun = function(x){ x['Hugo_Symbol'] == 'APC'} )

It is also sometimes convenient -- especially when working with data collected from a single individual patient -- to distinguish the type of mutations and their position in a gene, or if they are somehow annotated to COSMIC or other databases. For instance, we might want to want to use the MA.protein.change annotation in the MAF file to get composite names such as TP53.R175H, TP53.R213, TP53.R267W etc. This can be done by setting {\tt paste.to.Hugo_Symbol} to have the relevant name of the MAF annotation

dataset_maf = import.MAF(crc_maf, 
    merge.mutation.types = FALSE, 
    paste.to.Hugo_Symbol = c('MA.protein.change'))

TRONCO supports custom MAF files, where possibly not all the standard annotations are present, via irregular = TRUE.

Copy Number Variants annotated in the GISTIC format

We use the function import.GISTIC to import a dataset in GISTIC format, in this case from


In its default execution all the data annotated in the file is imported. But in principle it is possible to avoid to import some genes or samples; in this case it is sufficient to use parameters filter.genes and filter.samples for this function.

dataset_gistic = import.GISTIC(crc_gistic)

Custom alterations annotated in a boolean matrix

One can annotate its custom type of alterations in a boolean matrix such as crc_plain


In this case, function import.genotypes will convert the matrix to a TRONCO object where events' names and samples codes will be set from column and row names of the matrix. If this is not possible, these will be generated from templates. By default, the event.type is set to variant but one can specify a custom name for the alteration that is reported in the matrix

dataset_plain = import.genotypes(crc_plain, event.type='myVariant')

Downloading data from the cBio portal for cancer genomics

TRONCO uses the R interface to cBio to query data from the portal. All type of data can be downloaded from the portal, which includes MAF/GISTIC data for a lot of different cancer studies. An example of interaction with the portal is archived at the tool's webpage.

Here, we show how to download lung cancer data somatic mutations for genes TP53, KRAS and PIK3CA, from the lung cancer project run by TCGA, which is archived as luad_tcga_pub at cBio. If some of the parameters to cbio.query are missing the function will become interactive by showing a list of possible data available at the portal.

data = cbio.query(
    genes=c('TP53', 'KRAS', 'PIK3CA'), 
    cbio.study = 'luad_tcga_pub',
    cbio.dataset = 'luad_tcga_pub_cnaseq', 
    cbio.profile = 'luad_tcga_pub_mutations')

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TRONCO documentation built on Nov. 8, 2020, 5:51 p.m.