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Cancer cells can acquire profound alterations to the structure of their genomes, including rearrangements that fuse distant DNA breakpoints. We analyze the distribution of somatic rearrangements across the cancer genome, using whole-genome sequencing data from 2,693 tumor-normal pairs. We observe substantial variation in the density of rearrangement breakpoints, with enrichment in open chromatin and sites with high densities of repetitive elements. After accounting for these patterns, we identify significantly recurrent breakpoints (SRBs) at 52 loci, including novel SRBs near BRD4 and AKR1C3. Taking into account both loci fused by a rearrangement, we observe different signatures resembling either single breaks followed by strand invasion or two separate breaks that become joined. Accounting for these signatures, we identify 90 pairs of loci that are significantly recurrently juxtaposed (SRJs). SRJs are primarily tumor-type specific and tend to involve genes with tissue-specific expression. SRJs were frequently associated with disruption of topology-associated domains, juxtaposition of enhancer elements, and increased expression of neighboring genes. Lastly, we find that the power to detect SRJs decreases for short rearrangements, and that reliable detection of all driver SRJs will require whole-genome sequencing data from an order of magnitude more cancer samples than currently available.

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