- Prenatal origin of childhood AML occurs less frequently than in childhood ALL (2006)
- Background While there is enough convincing evidence in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the data on the pre-natal origin in childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are less comprehensive. Our study aimed to screen Guthrie cards (neonatal blood spots) of non-infant childhood AML and ALL patients for the presence of their respective leukemic markers. Methods We analysed Guthrie cards of 12 ALL patients aged 2–6 years using immunoglobulin (Ig) and T-cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements (n = 15) and/or intronic breakpoints of TEL/AML1 fusion gene (n = 3). In AML patients (n = 13, age 1–14 years) PML/RARalpha (n = 4), CBFbeta/MYH11 (n = 3), AML1/ETO (n = 2), MLL/AF6 (n = 1), MLL/AF9 (n = 1) and MLL/AF10 (n = 1) fusion genes and/or internal tandem duplication of FLT3 gene (FLT3/ITD) (n = 2) were used as clonotypic markers. Assay sensitivity determined using serial dilutions of patient DNA into the DNA of a healthy donor allowed us to detect the pre-leukemic clone in Guthrie card providing 1–3 positive cells were present in the neonatal blood spot. Results In 3 patients with ALL (25%) we reproducibly detected their leukemic markers (Ig/TCR n = 2; TEL/AML1 n = 1) in the Guthrie card. We did not find patient-specific molecular markers in any patient with AML. Conclusion In the largest cohort examined so far we used identical approach for the backtracking of non-infant childhood ALL and AML. Our data suggest that either the prenatal origin of AML is less frequent or the load of pre-leukemic cells is significantly lower at birth in AML compared to ALL cases.
- Hypomethylation and expression of BEX2, IGSF4 and TIMP3 indicative of MLL translocations in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (2009)
- Background Translocations of the Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) gene occur in a subset (5%) of acute myeloid leukemias (AML), and in mixed phenotype acute leukemias in infancy - a disease with extremely poor prognosis. Animal model systems show that MLL gain of function mutations may contribute to leukemogenesis. Wild-type (wt) MLL possesses histone methyltransferase activity and functions at the level of chromatin organization by affecting the expression of specific target genes. While numerous MLL fusion proteins exert a diverse array of functions, they ultimately serve to induce transcription of specific genes. Hence, acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALL) with MLL mutations (MLLmu) exhibit characteristic gene expression profiles including high-level expression of HOXA cluster genes. Here, we aimed to relate MLL mutational status and tumor suppressor gene (TSG) methylation/expression in acute leukemia cell lines. Results Using MS-MLPA (methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay), methylation of 24 different TSG was analyzed in 28 MLLmu and MLLwt acute leukemia cell lines. On average, 1.8/24 TSG were methylated in MLLmu AML cells, while 6.2/24 TSG were methylated in MLLwt AML cells. Hypomethylation and expression of the TSG BEX2, IGSF4 and TIMP3 turned out to be characteristic of MLLmu AML cell lines. MLLwt AML cell lines displayed hypermethylated TSG promoters resulting in transcriptional silencing. Demethylating agents and inhibitors of histone deacetylases restored expression of BEX2, IGSF4 and TIMP3, confirming epigenetic silencing of these genes in MLLwt cells. The positive correlation between MLL translocation, TSG hypomethylation and expression suggested that MLL fusion proteins were responsible for dysregulation of TSG expression in MLLmu cells. This concept was supported by our observation that Bex2 mRNA levels in MLL-ENL transgenic mouse cell lines required expression of the MLL fusion gene. Conclusion These results suggest that the conspicuous expression of the TSG BEX2, IGSF4 and TIMP3 in MLLmu AML cell lines is the consequence of altered epigenetic properties of MLL fusion proteins.
- A novel spliced fusion of MLL with CT45A2 in a pediatric biphenotypic acute leukemia (2010)
- Background: Abnormalities of 11q23 involving the MLL gene are found in approximately 10% of human leukemias. To date, nearly 100 different chromosome bands have been described in rearrangements involving 11q23 and 64 fusion genes have been cloned and characterized at the molecular level. In this work we present the identification of a novel MLL fusion partner in a pediatric patient with de novo biphenotypic acute leukemia. Methods: Cytogenetics, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), molecular studies (RT-PCR and LDI-PCR), and bioinformatic sequence analysis were used to characterize the CT45A2 gene as novel MLL fusion partner in pediatric acute leukemia. Results: Fluorescence in situ hybridization of the patient G-banded metaphases demonstrated a cryptic insertion of 11q23 in Xq26.3 involving the MLL gene. Breakpoint fusion analysis revealed that a DNA fragment of 653 kb from 11q23, containing MLL exons 1-9 in addition to 16 other 11q23 genes, was inserted into the upstream region of the CT45A2 gene located at Xq26.3. In addition, a deletion at Xq26.3 encompassing the 3' region of the DDX26B gene (exons 9-16) and the entire CT45A1 gene was identified. RNA analysis revealed the presence of a novel MLL-CT45A2 fusion transcript in which the first 9 exons of the MLL gene were fused in-frame to exon 2 of the CT45A2 gene, resulting in a spliced MLL fusion transcript with an intact open reading frame. The resulting chimeric transcript predicts a fusion protein where the N-terminus of MLL is fused to the entire open reading frame of CT45A2. Finally, we demonstrate that all breakpoint regions are rich in long repetitive motifs, namely LINE/L1 and SINE/Alu sequences, but all breakpoints were exclusively identified outside these repetitive DNA sequences. Conclusion: We have identified CT45A2 as a novel spliced MLL fusion partner in a pediatric patient with de novo biphenotypic acute leukemia, as a result of a cryptic insertion of 11q23 in Xq26.3. Since CT45A2 is the first Cancer/Testis antigen family gene found fused with MLL in acute leukemia, future studies addressing its biologic relevance for leukemogenesis are warranted.
- Molecular monitoring of minimal residual disease in two patients with MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia and haploidentical transplantation after relapse (2012)
- This report describes the clinical courses of two acute myeloid leukemia patients. Both had MLL translocations, the first a t(10;11)(p11.2;q23) with MLL-AF10 and the second a t(11;19)(q23;p13.1) with MLL-ELL fusion. They achieved a clinical remission under conventional chemotherapy but relapsed shortly after end of therapy. Both had a history of invasive mycoses (one had possible pulmonary mycosis, one systemic candidiasis). Because no HLA-identical donor was available, a haploidentical transplantation was performed in both cases. Using a specially designed PCR method for the assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD), based on the quantitative detection of the individual chromosomal breakpoint in the MLL gene, all patients achieved complete and persistent molecular remission after transplantation. The immune reconstitution after transplantation is described in terms of total CD3+/CD4+, CD3+/CD8+, CD19+, and CD16+/CD56+ cell numbers over time. The KIR and HLA genotypes of donors and recipients are reported and the possibility of a KIR-mediated alloreactivity is discussed. This report illustrates that haploidentical transplantation may offer a chance of cure without chronic graft-versus-host disease in situations where no suitable HLA-identical donor is available even in a high-risk setting and shows the value of MRD monitoring in the pre- and posttransplant setting.