An Efficient Method for Identifying Gene Fusions by Targeted RNA Sequencing from Fresh Frozen and FFPE Samples

<div><p>Fusion genes are known to be key drivers of tumor growth in several types of cancer. Traditionally, detecting fusion genes has been a difficult task based on fluorescent <i>in situ</i> hybridization to detect chromosomal abnormalities. More recently, RNA sequencing has enabled an increased pace of fusion gene identification. However, RNA-Seq is inefficient for the identification of fusion genes due to the high number of sequencing reads needed to detect the small number of fusion transcripts present in cells of interest. Here we describe a method, Single Primer Enrichment Technology (SPET), for targeted RNA sequencing that is customizable to any target genes, is simple to use, and efficiently detects gene fusions. Using SPET to target 5701 exons of 401 known cancer fusion genes for sequencing, we were able to identify known and previously unreported gene fusions from both fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue RNA in both normal tissue and cancer cells.</p></div>