Most mutations in cancer genomes are thought to be acquired after the initiating event, which may cause genomic instability, driving clonal evolution. However, for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), normal karyotypes are common, and genomic instability is unusual. To better understand clonal evolution in AML, we sequenced the genomes of AML samples with a known initiating event (PML-RARA) vs. normal karyotype AML samples, and the exomes of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) from healthy people. Collectively, the data suggest that most of the mutations found in AML genomes are actually random events that occurred in HSPCs before they acquired the initiating mutation; the mutational history of that cell is “captured” as the clone expands. In many cases, only one or two additional, cooperating mutations are needed to generate the malignant founding clone. Cells from the founding clone can acquire additional cooperating mutations, yielding subclones that can contribute to disease progression and/or relapse.
The myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of hematologic disorders that often evolve into secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The genetic changes that underlie progression from the myelodysplastic syndromes to secondary AML are not well understood.
We performed whole-genome sequencing of seven paired samples of skin and bone marrow in seven subjects with secondary AML to identify somatic mutations specific to secondary AML. We then genotyped a bone marrow sample obtained during the antecedent myelodysplastic-syndrome stage from each subject to determine the presence or absence of the specific somatic mutations. We identified recurrent mutations in coding genes and defined the clonal architecture of each pair of samples from the myelodysplastic-syndrome stage and the secondary-AML stage, using the allele burden of hundreds of mutations.
Approximately 85% of bone marrow cells were clonal in the myelodysplastic-syndrome and secondary-AML samples, regardless of the myeloblast count. The secondary-AML samples contained mutations in 11 recurrently mutated genes, including 4 genes that have not been previously implicated in the myelodysplastic syndromes or AML. In every case, progression to acute leukemia was defined by the persistence of an antecedent founding clone containing 182 to 660 somatic mutations and the outgrowth or emergence of at least one subclone, harboring dozens to hundreds of new mutations. All founding clones and subclones contained at least one mutation in a coding gene.
Nearly all the bone marrow cells in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and secondary AML are clonally derived. Genetic evolution of secondary AML is a dynamic process shaped by multiple cycles of mutation acquisition and clonal selection. Recurrent gene mutations are found in both founding clones and daughter subclones. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
Most patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) die from progressive disease after relapse, which is associated with clonal evolution at the cytogenetic level1,2. To determine the mutational spectrum associated with relapse, we sequenced the primary tumor and relapse genomes from 8 AML patients, and validated hundreds of somatic mutations using deep sequencing; this allowed us to precisely define clonality and clonal evolution patterns at relapse. Besides discovering novel, recurrently mutated genes (e.g. WAC, SMC3, DIS3, DDX41, and DAXX) in AML, we found two major clonal evolution patterns during AML relapse: 1) the founding clone in the primary tumor gained mutations and evolved into the relapse clone, or 2) a subclone of the founding clone survived initial therapy, gained additional mutations, and expanded at relapse. In all cases, chemotherapy failed to eradicate the founding clone. The comparison of relapse-specific vs. primary tumor mutations in all 8 cases revealed an increase in transversions, probably due to DNA damage caused by cytotoxic chemotherapy. These data demonstrate that AML relapse is associated with the addition of new mutations and clonal evolution, which is shaped in part by the chemotherapy that the patients receive to establish and maintain remissions.
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are hematopoietic stem cell disorders that often progress to chemotherapy-resistant secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML). We used whole genome sequencing to perform an unbiased comprehensive screen to discover all the somatic mutations in a sAML sample and genotyped these loci in the matched MDS sample. Here we show that a missense mutation affecting the serine at codon 34 (S34) in U2AF1 was recurrently mutated in 13/150 (8.7%) de novo MDS patients, with suggestive evidence of an associated increased risk of progression to sAML. U2AF1 is a U2 auxiliary factor protein that recognizes the AG splice acceptor dinucleotide at the 3′ end of introns and mutations are located in highly conserved zinc fingers in U2AF11,2. Mutant U2AF1 promotes enhanced splicing and exon skipping in reporter assays in vitro. This novel, recurrent mutation in U2AF1 implicates altered pre-mRNA splicing as a potential mechanism for MDS pathogenesis.
The full complement of DNA mutations that are responsible for the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is not yet known.
We used massively parallel DNA sequencing to obtain a very high level of coverage (approximately 98%) of a primary, cytogenetically normal, de novo genome for AML with minimal maturation (AML-M1) and a matched normal skin genome.
We identified 12 acquired (somatic) mutations within the coding sequences of genes and 52 somatic point mutations in conserved or regulatory portions of the genome. All mutations appeared to be heterozygous and present in nearly all cells in the tumor sample. Four of the 64 mutations occurred in at least 1 additional AML sample in 188 samples that were tested. Mutations in NRAS and NPM1 had been identified previously in patients with AML, but two other mutations had not been identified. One of these mutations, in the IDH1 gene, was present in 15 of 187 additional AML genomes tested and was strongly associated with normal cytogenetic status; it was present in 13 of 80 cytogenetically normal samples (16%). The other was a nongenic mutation in a genomic region with regulatory potential and conservation in higher mammals; we detected it in one additional AML tumor. The AML genome that we sequenced contains approximately 750 point mutations, of which only a small fraction are likely to be relevant to pathogenesis.
By comparing the sequences of tumor and skin genomes of a patient with AML-M1, we have identified recurring mutations that may be relevant for pathogenesis.
The genetic alterations responsible for an adverse outcome in most patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are unknown.
Using massively parallel DNA sequencing, we identified a somatic mutation in DNMT3A, encoding a DNA methyltransferase, in the genome of cells from a patient with AML with a normal karyotype. We sequenced the exons of DNMT3A in 280 additional patients with de novo AML to define recurring mutations.
A total of 62 of 281 patients (22.1%) had mutations in DNMT3A that were predicted to affect translation. We identified 18 different missense mutations, the most common of which was predicted to affect amino acid R882 (in 37 patients). We also identified six frameshift, six nonsense, and three splice-site mutations and a 1.5-Mbp deletion encompassing DNMT3A. These mutations were highly enriched in the group of patients with an intermediate-risk cytogenetic profile (56 of 166 patients, or 33.7%) but were absent in all 79 patients with a favorable-risk cytogenetic profile (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The median overall survival among patients with DNMT3A mutations was significantly shorter than that among patients without such mutations (12.3 months vs. 41.1 months, P<0.001). DNMT3A mutations were associated with adverse outcomes among patients with an intermediate-risk cytogenetic profile or FLT3 mutations, regardless of age, and were independently associated with a poor outcome in Cox proportional-hazards analysis.
DNMT3A mutations are highly recurrent in patients with de novo AML with an intermediate-risk cytogenetic profile and are independently associated with a poor outcome. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
The identification of patients with inherited cancer susceptibility syndromes facilitates early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. However, in many cases of suspected cancer susceptibility, the family history is unclear and genetic testing of common cancer susceptibility genes is unrevealing.
To apply whole-genome sequencing to a patient with suspected cancer susceptibility (and lacking a clear family history of cancer and no BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations) to identify rare or novel germline variants in cancer susceptibility genes.
Design, Setting, and Participant
Skin (normal) and bone marrow (leukemia) DNA were obtained from a patient with early-onset breast and ovarian cancer and therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML), and analyzed with: 1) whole genome sequencing using paired end reads; 2) SNP genotyping; 3) RNA expression profiling; and 4) spectral karyotyping.
Main Outcome Measures
Structural variants, copy number alterations, single nucleotide variants and small insertions and deletions (indels) were detected and validated using the above platforms.
Whole genome sequencing revealed a novel, heterozygous 3 Kb deletion removing exons 7-9 of TP53 in the patient’s normal skin DNA, which was homozygous in the leukemia DNA as a result of uniparental disomy. In addition, a total of 28 validated somatic single nucleotide variations or indels in coding genes, 8 somatic structural variants, and 12 somatic copy number alterations were detected in the patient’s leukemia genome.
Whole genome sequencing can identify novel, cryptic variants in cancer susceptibility genes in addition to providing unbiased information on the spectrum of mutations in a cancer genome.
Recent studies demonstrate that inflammatory signals regulate hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) is often induced with infection and plays a key role in the stress granulopoiesis response. However, its effects on HSCs are less clear. Herein, we show that treatment with G-CSF induces expansion and increased quiescence of phenotypic HSCs, but causes a marked, cell-autonomous HSC repopulating defect associated with induction of toll-like receptor (TLR) expression and signaling. The G-CSF-mediated expansion of HSCs is reduced in mice lacking TLR2, TLR4 or the TLR signaling adaptor MyD88. Induction of HSC quiescence is abrogated in mice lacking MyD88 or in mice treated with antibiotics to suppress intestinal flora. Finally, loss of TLR4 or germ free conditions mitigates the G-CSF-mediated HSC repopulating defect. These data suggest that low level TLR agonist production by commensal flora contributes to the regulation of HSC function and that G-CSF negatively regulates HSCs, in part, by enhancing TLR signaling.
G-CSF; hematopoietic stem cell; toll-like receptor; inflammation
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in specialized microenvironments (niches) in the bone marrow. The stem cell niche is thought to provide signals that support key HSC properties, including self-renewal capacity and long-term multilineage repopulation ability. The stromal cells that comprise the stem cell niche and the signals that they generate that support HSC function are the subjects of intense investigation. Here we review the complex and diverse stromal cell populations that reside in the bone marrow and examine their contribution to HSC maintenance. We highlight recent data suggesting that perivascular CXCL12-expressing mesenchymal progenitors and endothelial cells are key cellular components of the stem cell niche in the bone marrow.
hematopoietic stem cells; HSCs; stem cell niche; mesenchymal stem cells; osteoblast; CXCL12
Several genetic alterations characteristic of leukemia and lymphoma have been detected in the blood of individuals without apparent hematological malignancies. We analyzed blood-derived sequence data from 2,728 individuals within The Cancer Genome Atlas, and discovered 77 blood-specific mutations in cancer-associated genes, the majority being associated with advanced age. Remarkably, 83% of these mutations were from 19 leukemia/lymphoma-associated genes, and nine were recurrently mutated (DNMT3A, TET2, JAK2, ASXL1, TP53, GNAS, PPM1D, BCORL1 and SF3B1). We identified 14 additional mutations in a very small fraction of blood cells, possibly representing the earliest stages of clonal expansion in hematopoietic stem cells. Comparison of these findings to mutations in hematological malignancies identified several recurrently mutated genes that may be disease initiators. Our analyses show that the blood cells of more than 2% of individuals (5–6% of people older than 70 years) contain mutations that may represent premalignant, initiating events that cause clonal hematopoietic expansion.
MIR233 is genetically or epigenetically silenced in a subset of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). MIR223 is normally expressed throughout myeloid differentiation and highly expressed in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). However, the contribution of MIR223 loss to leukemic transformation and HSC function is largely unknown. Herein, we characterize HSC function and myeloid differentiation in Mir223 deficient mice. We show that Mir223 loss results in a modest expansion of myeloid progenitors, but is not sufficient to induce a myeloproliferative disorder. Loss of Mir223 had no discernible effect on HSC quiescence, long-term repopulating activity, or self-renewal capacity. These results suggest that MIR223 loss is likely not an initiating event in AML but may cooperate with other AML associated oncogenes to induce leukemogenesis.
The relationships between clonal architecture and functional heterogeneity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples are not yet clear. We used targeted sequencing to track AML subclones identified by whole genome sequencing using a variety of experimental approaches. We found that virtually all AML subclones trafficked from the marrow to the peripheral blood, but some were enriched in specific cell populations. Subclones showed variable engraftment potential in immunodeficient mice. Xenografts were predominantly comprised of a single genetically-defined subclone, but there was no predictable relationship between the engrafting subclone and the evolutionary hierarchy of the leukemia. These data demonstrate the importance of integrating genetic and functional data in studies of primary cancer samples, both in xenograft models and in patients.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are quiescent cells with self-renewal capacity and the ability to generate all mature blood cells. HSCs normally reside in specialized niches in the bone marrow that help maintain their quiescence and long-term repopulating activity. There is emerging evidence that certain cytokines induced during inflammation have significant effects on HSCs in the bone marrow. Type I and II interferons, tumor necrosis factor, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) directly stimulate HSC proliferation and differentiation, thereby increasing the short-term output of mature effector leukocytes. However, chronic inflammatory cytokine signaling can lead to HSC exhaustion and may contribute the development of hematopoietic malignancies. Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as G-CSF can also indirectly affect HSCs by altering the bone marrow microenvironment, disrupting the stem cell niche, and leading to HSC mobilization into the blood. Herein, we review our current understanding of the effects of inflammatory mediators on HSCs, and we discuss the potential clinical implications of these findings with respect to bone marrow failure and leukemogenesis.
inflammation; hematopoietic stem cells; toll-like receptors; tumor necrosis factor; interferon
Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) is associated with a marked propensity to develop myelodysplasia (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Truncation mutations of CSF3R, encoding the G-CSF receptor (G-CSFR), are associated with the development of MDS/AML in SCN. However, a causal relationship between CSF3R mutations and leukemic transformation has not been established. Herein, we show that truncated G-CSFR cooperates with the PML-RARα oncogene to induce AML in mice. Expression of truncated G-CSFR significantly shortens the latency of AML in a G-CSF dependent fashion, and it is associated with a distinct AML presentation characterized by higher blast counts and more severe myelosuppression. Basal and G-CSF-induced STAT3, STAT5, and Erk1/2 phosphorylation were highly variable but similar in leukemic blasts expressing wild type and truncated G-CSFR. These data provide new evidence suggesting a causative role for CSF3R mutations in human AML.
Acute myeloid leukemia; neutropenia; severe congenital neutropenia; myelodysplastic syndrome; granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF); STAT3; STAT5
The skeleton serves as the principal site for hematopoiesis in adult terrestrial vertebrates. The function of the hematopoietic system is to maintain homeostatic levels of all circulating blood cells, including myeloid cells, lymphoid cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This action requires the daily production of more than 500 billion blood cells every day. The vast majority of these cells are synthesized in the bone marrow, where they arise from a limited number of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that are multipotent and capable of extensive self-renewal. These attributes of HSCs are best demonstrated by marrow transplantation, where even a single HSC can repopulate the entire hematopoietic system. HSCs are therefore adult stem cells capable of multilineage repopulation, poised between cell fate choices, which include quiescence, self-renewal, differentiation and apoptosis. While HSC fate choices are in part determined by multiple stochastic fluctuations of cell autonomous processes, according to the niche hypothesis, signals from the microenvironment are also likely to determine stem cell fate. While it had long been postulated that signals within the bone marrow could provide regulation of hematopoietic cells, it is only in the past decade that advances in flow cytometry and genetic models have allowed for a deeper understanding of microenvironmental regulation of HSCs. In this review, we will highlight the cellular regulatory components of the HSC niche.
The molecular basis for the preferential metastases of certain cancers to bone is not well understood. In this issue of the JCI, Shiozawa et al. provide compelling evidence that prostate cancer cells preferentially home to the osteoblastic niche in the bone marrow, where they compete with normal HSCs for niche support. Because signals from the niche may regulate tumor quiescence and sensitivity to chemotherapy, these observations have important implications for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer in bone.
Expression of the G-CSF receptor on bone marrow monocytes is sufficient to trigger HSC mobilization in response to G-CSF, in part via effects on osteoblast lineage cells.
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), the prototypical mobilizing cytokine, induces hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) mobilization from the bone marrow in a cell-nonautonomous fashion. This process is mediated, in part, through suppression of osteoblasts and disruption of CXCR4/CXCL12 signaling. The cellular targets of G-CSF that initiate the mobilization cascade have not been identified. We use mixed G-CSF receptor (G-CSFR)–deficient bone marrow chimeras to show that G-CSF–induced mobilization of HSPCs correlates poorly with the number of wild-type neutrophils. We generated transgenic mice in which expression of the G-CSFR is restricted to cells of the monocytic lineage. G-CSF–induced HSPC mobilization, osteoblast suppression, and inhibition of CXCL12 expression in the bone marrow of these transgenic mice are intact, demonstrating that G-CSFR signals in monocytic cells are sufficient to induce HSPC mobilization. Moreover, G-CSF treatment of wild-type mice is associated with marked loss of monocytic cells in the bone marrow. Finally, we show that bone marrow macrophages produce factors that support the growth and/or survival of osteoblasts in vitro. Together, these data suggest a model in which G-CSFR signals in bone marrow monocytic cells inhibit the production of trophic factors required for osteoblast lineage cell maintenance, ultimately leading to HSPC mobilization.
Next-generation sequencing has been used to infer the clonality of heterogeneous tumor samples. These analyses yield specific predictions—the population frequency of individual clones, their genetic composition, and their evolutionary relationships—which we set out to test by sequencing individual cells from three subjects diagnosed with secondary acute myeloid leukemia, each of whom had been previously characterized by whole genome sequencing of unfractionated tumor samples. Single-cell mutation profiling strongly supported the clonal architecture implied by the analysis of bulk material. In addition, it resolved the clonal assignment of single nucleotide variants that had been initially ambiguous and identified areas of previously unappreciated complexity. Accordingly, we find that many of the key assumptions underlying the analysis of tumor clonality by deep sequencing of unfractionated material are valid. Furthermore, we illustrate a single-cell sequencing strategy for interrogating the clonal relationships among known variants that is cost-effective, scalable, and adaptable to the analysis of both hematopoietic and solid tumors, or any heterogeneous population of cells.
Human cancers are genetically diverse populations of cells that evolve over the course of their natural history or in response to the selective pressure of therapy. In theory, it is possible to infer how this variation is structured into related populations of cells based on the frequency of individual mutations in bulk samples, but the accuracy of these models has not been evaluated across a large number of variants in individual cells. Here, we report a strategy for analyzing hundreds of variants within a single cell, and we apply this method to assess models of tumor clonality derived from bulk samples in three cases of leukemia. The data largely support the predicted population structure, though they suggest specific refinements. This type of approach not only illustrates the biological complexity of human cancer, but it also has the potential to inform patient management. That is, precise knowledge of which variants are present in which populations of cells may allow physicians to more effectively target combinations of mutations and predict how patients will respond to therapy.
Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) is a genetically heterogeneous syndrome associated with mutations of ELANE (ELA2), HAX1, GFI1, WAS, CSF3R or G6PC3. We investigated the prevalence of mutations of ELANE in a cohort of 162 SCN patients for whom blood or bone marrow samples were submitted to the North American Severe Chronic Neutropenia Tissue Repository. Mutations of ELANE were found in 90 of 162 patients (55.6%). Subsequently, we conducted an analysis of a subset of 73 of these cases utilizing a high throughput sequencing approach to determine the prevalence of other mutations associated with SCN. Among the 73 patients, mutations of ELANE were detected in 28. In the remaining 45 patients with wild type ELANE alleles, 5 patients had mutations: GFI1 (1), SBDS (1), WAS (1) and G6PC3 (2); no mutations of HAX1 were detected. In approximately 40% of our cases, the genetic basis of SCN remains unknown. These data suggest that for genetic diagnosis of SCN, ELANE genotyping should first be performed. In patients without ELANE mutations, other known SCN-associated gene mutations will be found rarely and genotyping can be guided by the clinical features of each patient.
bone marrow failure; chronic neutropenia; DNA mutation
Neutrophils are a major component of the innate immune response. Their homeostasis is maintained, in part, by the regulated release of neutrophils from the bone marrow. Constitutive expression of the chemokine CXCL12 by bone marrow stromal cells provides a key retention signal for neutrophils in the bone marrow through activation of its receptor, CXCR4. Attenuation of CXCR4 signaling leads to entry of neutrophils into the circulation through unknown mechanisms. We investigated the role of CXCR2-binding ELR+ chemokines in neutrophil trafficking using mouse mixed bone marrow chimeras reconstituted with Cxcr2–/– and WT cells. In this context, neutrophils lacking CXCR2 were preferentially retained in the bone marrow, a phenotype resembling the congenital disorder myelokathexis, which is characterized by chronic neutropenia. Additionally, transient disruption of CXCR4 failed to mobilize Cxcr2–/– neutrophils. However, neutrophils lacking both CXCR2 and CXCR4 displayed constitutive mobilization, showing that CXCR4 plays a dominant role in neutrophil trafficking. With regard to CXCR2 ligands, bone marrow endothelial cells and osteoblasts constitutively expressed the ELR+ chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL2, and CXCL2 expression was induced in endothelial cells during G-CSF–induced neutrophil mobilization. Collectively, these data suggest that CXCR2 signaling is a second chemokine axis that interacts antagonistically with CXCR4 to regulate neutrophil release from the bone marrow.
Pancreatic cancer (PC) mobilizes myeloid cells from the bone marrow to the tumor where they promote tumor growth and proliferation. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a population of tumor cells that are responsible for tumor initiation. Aldehyde dehydrogenase-1 activity in PC identifies CSCs, and its activity has been correlated with poor overall prognosis in human PC. Myeloid cells have been shown to impact tumor stemness, but the impact of immunosuppressive tumor-infiltrating granulocytic and monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (Mo-MDSC) on ALDH1Bright CSCs and epithelial to mesenchymal transition is not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that Mo-MDSC (CD11b+/Gr1+/Ly6G−/Ly6Chi) significantly increase the frequency of ALDH1Bright CSCs in a mouse model of PC. Additionally, there was significant upregulation of genes associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition. We also found that human PC converts CD14+ peripheral blood monocytes into Mo-MDSC (CD14+/HLA-DRlow/−) in vitro, and this transformation is dependent on the activation of the STAT3 pathway. In turn, these Mo-MDSC increase the frequency of ALDH1Bright CSCs and promote mesenchymal features of tumor cells. Finally, blockade of STAT3 activation reversed the increase in ALDH1Bright CSCs. These data suggest that the PC tumor microenvironment transforms monocytes to Mo-MDSC by STAT3 activation, and these cells increase the frequency of ALDH1Bright CSCs. Therefore, targeting STAT3 activation may be an effective therapeutic strategy in targeting CSCs in PC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00262-014-1527-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Monocytic MDSC; Stem cell; Epithelial to mesenchymal transition; Pancreatic cancer; STAT3 activity
A fundamental property of leukemic stem cells is clonal dominance of the bone marrow microenvironment. Truncation mutations of CSF3R, which encodes the G-CSF receptor (G-CSFR), are implicated in leukemic progression in patients with severe congenital neutropenia. Here we show that expression of a truncated mutant Csf3r in mice confers a strong clonal advantage at the HSC level that is dependent upon exogenous G-CSF. G-CSF–induced proliferation, phosphorylation of Stat5, and transcription of Stat5 target genes were increased in HSCs isolated from mice expressing the mutant Csf3r. Conversely, the proliferative advantage conferred by the mutant Csf3r was abrogated in myeloid progenitors lacking both Stat5A and Stat5B, and HSC function was reduced in mice expressing a truncated mutant Csf3r engineered to have impaired Stat5 activation. These data indicate that in mice, inappropriate Stat5 activation plays a key role in establishing clonal dominance by stem cells expressing mutant Csf3r.
In the past decade, a series of technological advances have revolutionized our ability to interrogate cancer genomes, culminating in whole-genome sequencing, which provides genome-wide coverage at a single base-pair resolution. To date, the tumor genome has been sequenced in nearly 40 cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). On average, each AML genome contains approximately 400 mutations, including 6-26 coding mutations. The majority of these mutations are ‘background’ mutations that were acquired during normal aging of hematopoietic stem cells. Though comprehensively identifying ‘driver’ mutations remains a challenge, a number of novel driver mutations in AML have been identified through whole-genome sequencing. The digital nature of next-generation sequencing has revealed clonal heterogeneity in the majority of AML at diagnosis. Importantly, in some cases, a minor subclone contributed to relapse, suggesting the strategies to assess clonal heterogeneity are needed to optimize therapy. As sequencing technologies improve and costs decrease, it is likely that whole-genome sequencing of cancer cells will become commonplace in the diagnostic work-up of patients with AML and other cancers.
acute myeloid leukemia; AML; clone; coding mutation; driver mutation; genetics; genome; sequencing; subclone