Molecular risk stratification of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is largely based on genetic markers. However, epigenetic changes, including DNA methylation, deregulate gene expression and may also have prognostic impact. We evaluated the clinical relevance of integrating DNA methylation and genetic information in AML.
Next-generation sequencing analysis of methylated DNA identified differentially methylated regions (DMRs) associated with prognostic mutations in older (≥ 60 years) cytogenetically normal (CN) patients with AML (n = 134). Genes with promoter DMRs and expression levels significantly associated with outcome were used to compute a prognostic gene expression weighted summary score that was tested and validated in four independent patient sets (n = 355).
In the training set, we identified seven genes (CD34, RHOC, SCRN1, F2RL1, FAM92A1, MIR155HG, and VWA8) with promoter DMRs and expression associated with overall survival (OS; P ≤ .001). Each gene had high DMR methylation and lower expression, which were associated with better outcome. A weighted summary expression score of the seven gene expression levels was computed. A low score was associated with a higher complete remission (CR) rate and longer disease-free survival and OS (P < .001 for all end points). This was validated in multivariable models and in two younger (< 60 years) and two older independent sets of patients with CN-AML. Considering the seven genes individually, the fewer the genes with high expression, the better the outcome. Younger and older patients with no genes or one gene with high expression had the best outcomes (CR rate, 94% and 87%, respectively; 3-year OS, 80% and 42%, respectively).
A seven-gene score encompassing epigenetic and genetic prognostic information identifies novel AML subsets that are meaningful for treatment guidance.
Emerging data demonstrate important roles for the TYRO3/AXL/MERTK receptor tyrosine kinase (TAM RTK) family in diverse cancers. We investigated the prognostic relevance of GAS6 expression, encoding the common TAM RTK ligand, in 270 adults (n=71 aged <60 years; n=199 aged ≥60 years) with de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML). Patients expressing GAS6 (GAS6+), especially those aged ≥60 years, more often failed to achieve a complete remission (CR). In all patients, GAS6+ patients had shorter disease-free (DFS) and overall (OS) survival than patients without GAS6 expression (GAS6−). After adjusting for other prognostic markers, GAS6+ predicted CR failure (P=0.02), shorter DFS (P=0.004) and OS (P=0.04). To gain further biologic insights, we derived a GAS6-associated gene-expression signature (P<0.001) that in GAS6+ patients included overexpressed BAALC and MN1, known to confer adverse prognosis in CN-AML, and overexpressed CXCL12, encoding stromal cell-derived factor, and its receptor genes, CXCR4 and CXCR7. This study reports for the first time that GAS6 expression is an adverse prognostic marker in CN-AML. Although GAS6 decoy receptors are not yet available in the clinic for GAS6+ CN-AML therapy, potential alternative therapies targeting GAS6+-associated pathways, e.g., CXCR4 antagonists may be considered for GAS6+ patients to sensitize them to chemotherapy.
GAS6; acute myeloid leukemia; prognosis
The BAALC/miR-3151 locus on chromosome 8q22 contains both the BAALC gene (for brain and acute leukemia, cytoplasmic) and miR-3151, which is located in intron 1 of BAALC. Older acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with high expression of both miR-3151 and the BAALC mRNA transcript have a low survival prognosis, and miR-3151 and BAALC expression is associated with poor survival independently of each other. We found that miR-3151 functioned as the oncogenic driver of the BAALC/miR-3151 locus. Increased production of miR-3151 reduced the apoptosis and chemosensitivity of AML cell lines and increased leukemogenesis in mice. Disruption of the TP53-mediated apoptosis pathway occurred in leukemia cells overexpressing miR-3151 and the miR-3151 bound to the 3′ untranslated region of TP53. In contrast, BAALC alone had only limited oncogenic activity. We found that miR-3151 contains its own regulatory element, thus partly uncoupling miR-3151 expression from that of the BAALC transcript. Both genes were bound and stimulated by a complex of the transcription factors SP1 and nuclear factor κB (SP1/NF-κB). Disruption of SP1/NF-κB binding reduced both miR-3151 and BAALC expression. However, expression of only BAALC, but not miR-3151, was stimulated by the transcription factor RUNX1, suggesting a mechanism for the partly discordant expression of miR-3151 and BAALC observed in AML patients. Similar to the AML cells, in melanoma cell lines, overexpression of miR-3151 reduced the abundance of TP53, and knockdown of miR-3151 increased caspase activity, whereas miR-3151 overexpression reduced caspase activity. Thus, this oncogenic miR-3151 may also have a role in solid tumors.
To evaluate the impact of miR-155 on the outcome of adults with cytogenetically normal (CN) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the context of other clinical and molecular prognosticators and to gain insight into the leukemogenic role of this microRNA.
Patients and Methods
We evaluated 363 patients with primary CN-AML. miR-155 levels were measured in pretreatment marrow and blood by NanoString nCounter assays that quantified the expression of the encoding gene MIR155HG. All molecular prognosticators were assessed centrally. miR-155–associated gene and microRNA expression profiles were derived using microarrays.
Considering all patients, high miR-155 expression was associated with a lower complete remission (CR) rate (P < .001) and shorter disease-free survival (P = .001) and overall survival (OS; P < .001) after adjusting for age. In multivariable analyses, high miR-155 expression remained an independent predictor for a lower CR rate (P = .007) and shorter OS (P < .001). High miR-155 expressers had approximately 50% reduction in the odds of achieving CR and 60% increase in the risk of death compared with low miR-155 expressers. Although high miR-155 expression was not associated with a distinct microRNA expression profile, it was associated with a gene expression profile enriched for genes involved in cellular mechanisms deregulated in AML (eg, apoptosis, nuclear factor-κB activation, and inflammation), thereby supporting a pivotal and unique role of this microRNA in myeloid leukemogenesis.
miR-155 expression levels are associated with clinical outcome independently of other strong clinical and molecular predictors. The availability of emerging compounds with antagonistic activity to microRNAs in the clinic provides the opportunity for future therapeutic targeting of miR-155 in AML.
miR-29b directly or indirectly targets genes involved in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) i.e., DNMTs, CDK6, SP1, KIT and FLT3. Higher miR-29b pretreatment expression is associated with improved response to decitabine and better outcome in AML. Thus designing a strategy to increase miR-29b levels in AML blasts may be of therapeutic value. However, free synthetic miRs are easily degraded in bio-fluids and have limited cellular uptake. To overcome these limitations, we developed a novel transferrin-conjugated nanoparticle delivery system for synthetic miR-29b (Tf-NP-miR-29b).
Delivery efficiency was investigated by flow-cytometry, confocal microscopy and quantitative-PCR. The expression of miR-29b targets was measured by immunoblotting. The anti-leukemic activity of Tf-NP-miR-29b was evaluated by measuring cell proliferation and colony formation ability and in a leukemia mouse model.
Tf-NP-miR-29b treatment resulted in >200-fold increase of mature miR-29b compared to free miR-29b and was about twice as efficient as treatment with non-Tf-conjugated NP-miR-29b. Tf-NP-miR-29b treatment significantly downregulated DNMTs, CDK6, SP1, KIT and FLT3 and decreased AML cell growth by 30–50% and impaired colony formation by approximately 50%. Mice engrafted with AML cells and then treated with Tf-NP-miR-29b had significantly longer survival compared to Tf-NP-scramble (P=0.015) or free miR-29b (P=0.003). Furthermore, priming AML cell with Tf-NP-miR-29b before decitabine resulted in strong cell viability decrease in vitro and showed improved anti-leukemic activity compared with decitabine alone (P=0.001) in vivo.
Tf-NP effectively delivered functional miR-29b, resulting in target downregulation and anti-leukemic activity, and warrants further investigation as a novel therapeutic approach in AML.
lipopolyplex nanoparticles; miR-29b; Acute Myeloid Leukemia
To evaluate the prognostic significance of the international European LeukemiaNet (ELN) guidelines for reporting genetic alterations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Patients and Methods
We analyzed 1,550 adults with primary AML, treated on Cancer and Leukemia Group B first-line trials, who had pretreatment cytogenetics and, for cytogenetically normal patients, mutational status of NPM1, CEBPA, and FLT3 available. We compared complete remission (CR) rates, disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS) among patients classified into the four ELN genetic groups (favorable, intermediate-I, intermediate-II, adverse) separately for 818 younger (age < 60 years) and 732 older (age ≥ 60 years) patients.
The percentages of younger versus older patients in the favorable (41% v 20%; P < .001), intermediate-II (19% v 30%; P < .001), and adverse (22% v 31%; P < .001) genetic groups differed. The favorable group had the best and the adverse group the worst CR rates, DFS, and OS in both age groups. Both intermediate groups had significantly worse outcomes than the favorable but better than the adverse group. Intermediate-I and intermediate-II groups in older patients had similar outcomes, whereas the intermediate-II group in younger patients had better OS but not better CR rates or DFS than the intermediate-I group. The prognostic significance of ELN classification was confirmed by multivariable analyses. For each ELN group, older patients had worse outcomes than younger patients.
The ELN classification clearly separates the genetic groups by outcome, supporting its use for risk stratification in clinical trials. Because they have different proportions of genetic alterations and outcomes, younger and older patients should be reported separately when using the ELN classification.
Decitabine (DAC) is used for treatment of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Following cellular uptake, DAC is activated to DAC-triphosphate (TP) and incorporated into DNA. Once incorporated into the DNA, DAC-TP binds and inactivates DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), thereby leading to hypomethylation and re-expression of epigenetically silenced tumor suppressor genes and ultimately antileukemia activity. However, direct evidence of in vivo DAC-TP occurrence in DAC-treated patients has been difficult to demonstrate due to a lack of suitable validated analytical methodology. Thus, we developed and validated a nonradioactive sensitive and specific LC-MS/MS assay for quantification of DAC-TP. The assay is linear from 50 to 1,000 nM and from 1 to 10 μM and has a lower limit of quantitation of 50 nM and a coefficient of variation for both within- and between-day precision <20%. Following DAC treatment, we detected DAC-TP in parental and DAC-resistant AML cells (in vitro) and bone marrow (BM) and spleen of normal and leukemic mice (in vivo). Downregulation of DNMTs and correlation of DAC-TP concentration with proteins involved in mechanisms of DAC resistance were also demonstrated. The clinical applicability of this method was proven by measuring DAC-TP level in BM and blood mononuclear cells from DAC-treated AML patients. Higher levels are seemingly associated with clinical response. Monitoring the DAC-TP intracellular level may serve as a novel pharmacological endpoint for designing more effective DAC-based regimens.
acute myeloid leukemia; decitabine; metabolite; quantification method; triphosphate
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors either alone or in combination with hypomethylating agents have limited clinical effect in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Previously we demonstrated that AML patients with higher miR-29b expression had better response to the hypomethylating agent decitabine. Therefore, an increase in miR-29b expression preceding decitabine treatment may provide a therapeutic advantage. We previously showed that miR-29b expression is suppressed by a repressor complex that includes HDACs. Thus, HDAC inhibition may increase miR-29b expression. We hypothesized that priming AML cells with the novel HDAC inhibitor (HDACI) AR-42 would result in increased response to decitabine treatment via upregulation of miR-29b. Here we show that AR-42 is a potent HDACI in AML, increasing miR-29b levels and leading to downregulation of known miR-29b targets (i.e., SP1, DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B). We then demonstrated that the sequential administration of AR-42 followed by decitabine resulted in a stronger anti-leukemic activity in vitro and in vivo than decitabine followed by AR-42 or either drug alone. These preclinical results with AR-42 priming before decitabine administration represents a promising, novel treatment approach and a paradigm shift with regard to the combination of epigenetic-targeting compounds in AML, where decitabine has been traditionally given before HDAC inhibitors.
acute myeloid leukemia; HDACI; AR-42; decitabine; miR-29b
To determine the association of RUNX1 mutations with therapeutic outcome in younger and older patients with primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) and with gene/microRNA expression signatures.
Patients and Methods
Younger (< 60 years; n = 175) and older (≥ 60 years; n = 225) patients with CN-AML treated with intensive cytarabine/anthracycline-based first-line therapy on Cancer and Leukemia Group B protocols were centrally analyzed for RUNX1 mutations by polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing and for established prognostic gene mutations. Gene/microRNA expression profiles were derived using microarrays.
RUNX1 mutations were found in 8% and 16% of younger and older patients, respectively (P = .02). They were associated with ASXL1 mutations (P < .001) and inversely associated with NPM1 (P < .001) and CEBPA (P = .06) mutations. RUNX1-mutated patients had lower complete remission rates (P = .005 in younger; P = .006 in older) and shorter disease-free survival (P = .058 in younger; P < .001 in older), overall survival (P = .003 in younger; P < .001 in older), and event-free survival (P < .001 for younger and older) than RUNX1 wild-type patients. Because RUNX1 mutations were more common in older patients and almost never coexisted with NPM1 mutations, RUNX1 mutation–associated expression signatures were derived in older, NPM1 wild-type patients and featured upregulation of genes normally expressed in primitive hematopoietic cells and B-cell progenitors, including DNTT, BAALC, BLNK, CD109, RBPMS, and FLT3, and downregulation of promoters of myelopoiesis, including CEBPA and miR-223.
RUNX1 mutations are twice as common in older than younger patients with CN-AML and negatively impact outcome in both age groups. RUNX1-mutated blasts have molecular features of primitive hematopoietic and lymphoid progenitors, potentially leading to novel therapeutic approaches.
To determine the frequency of DNMT3A mutations, their associations with clinical and molecular characteristics and outcome, and the associated gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML).
Patients and Methods
Four hundred fifteen previously untreated adults were analyzed for DNMT3A mutations and established prognostic gene mutations and expression markers. Gene- and microRNA-expression profiles were derived using microarrays.
Younger (< 60 years; n = 181) and older (≥ 60 years; n = 234) patients had similar frequencies of DNMT3A mutations (35.3% v 33.3%). Missense mutations affecting arginine codon 882 (R882-DNMT3A) were more common (n = 92; 62%) than those affecting other codons (non–R882-DNMT3A). DNMT3A-mutated patients did not differ regarding complete remission rate, but had shorter disease-free survival (DFS; P = .03) and, by trend, overall survival (OS; P = .07) than DNMT3A–wild-type patients. In multivariable analyses, DNMT3A mutations remained associated with shorter DFS (P = .01), but not with shorter OS. When analyzed separately, the two DNMT3A mutation types had different significance by age group. Younger patients with non–R882-DNMT3A mutations had shorter DFS (P = .002) and OS (P = .02), whereas older patients with R882-DNMT3A mutations had shorter DFS (P = .005) and OS (P = .002) after adjustment for other clinical and molecular prognosticators. Gene- and microRNA-expression signatures did not accurately predict DNMT3A mutational status.
DNMT3A mutations are frequent in CN-AML, and their clinical significance seems to be age dependent. DNMT3A-R882 mutations are associated with adverse prognosis in older patients, and non–R882-DNMT3A mutations are associated with adverse prognosis in younger patients. Low accuracy of gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in predicting DNMT3A mutation status suggested that the role of these mutations in AML remains to be elucidated.
Advances in whole genome profiling have revolutionized the cancer research field, but at the same time have raised new bioinformatics challenges. For next generation sequencing (NGS), these include data storage, computational costs, sequence processing and alignment, delineating appropriate statistical measures, and data visualization. Currently there is a lack of workflows for efficient analysis of large, MethylCap-seq datasets containing multiple sample groups.
The NGS application MethylCap-seq involves the in vitro capture of methylated DNA and subsequent analysis of enriched fragments by massively parallel sequencing. The workflow we describe performs MethylCap-seq experimental Quality Control (QC), sequence file processing and alignment, differential methylation analysis of multiple biological groups, hierarchical clustering, assessment of genome-wide methylation patterns, and preparation of files for data visualization.
Here, we present a scalable, flexible workflow for MethylCap-seq QC, secondary data analysis, tertiary analysis of multiple experimental groups, and data visualization. We demonstrate the experimental QC procedure with results from a large ovarian cancer study dataset and propose parameters which can identify problematic experiments. Promoter methylation profiling and hierarchical clustering analyses are demonstrated for four groups of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. We propose a Global Methylation Indicator (GMI) function to assess genome-wide changes in methylation patterns between experimental groups. We also show how the workflow facilitates data visualization in a web browser with the application Anno-J.
This workflow and its suite of features will assist biologists in conducting methylation profiling projects and facilitate meaningful biological interpretation.
Advances in whole genome profiling have revolutionized the cancer research field, but at the same time have raised new bioinformatics challenges. For next generation sequencing (NGS), these include data storage, computational costs, sequence processing and alignment, delineating appropriate statistical measures, and data visualization. The NGS application MethylCap-seq involves the in vitro capture of methylated DNA and subsequent analysis of enriched fragments by massively parallel sequencing. Here, we present a scalable, flexible workflow for MethylCap-seq Quality Control, secondary data analysis, tertiary analysis of multiple experimental groups, and data visualization. This workflow and its suite of features will assist biologists in conducting methylation profiling projects and facilitate meaningful biological interpretation.
next generation sequencing; DNA methylation; epigenetics; cancer; data analysis; data visualization
To determine the frequency of TET2 mutations, their associations with clinical and molecular characteristics and outcome, and the associated gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in patients with primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML).
Patients and Methods
Four-hundred twenty-seven patients with CN-AML were analyzed for TET2 mutations by polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing and for established prognostic gene mutations. Gene- and microRNA-expression profiles were derived using microarrays.
TET2 mutations, found in 23% of patients, were associated with older age (P < .001) and higher pretreatment WBC (P = .04) compared with wild-type TET2 (TET2-wt). In the European LeukemiaNet (ELN) favorable-risk group (patients with CN-AML who have mutated CEBPA and/or mutated NPM1 without FLT3 internal tandem duplication [FLT3-ITD]), TET2-mutated patients had shorter event-free survival (EFS; P < .001) because of a lower complete remission (CR) rate (P = .007), and shorter disease-free survival (DFS; P = .003), and also had shorter overall survival (P = .001) compared with TET2-wt patients. TET2 mutations were not associated with outcomes in the ELN intermediate-I–risk group (CN-AML with wild-type CEBPA and wild-type NPM1 and/or FLT3-ITD). In multivariable models, TET2 mutations were associated with shorter EFS (P = .004), lower CR rate (P = .03), and shorter DFS (P = .05) only among favorable-risk CN-AML patients. We identified a TET2 mutation-associated gene-expression signature in favorable-risk but not in intermediate-I–risk patients and found distinct mutation-associated microRNA signatures in both ELN groups.
TET2 mutations improve the ELN molecular-risk classification in primary CN-AML because of their adverse prognostic impact in an otherwise favorable-risk patient subset. Our data suggest that these patients may be candidates for alternative therapies.
To evaluate the prognostic significance of expression levels of a single microRNA, miR-181a, in the context of established molecular markers in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML), and to gain insight into the leukemogenic role of miR-181a.
Patients and Methods
miR-181a expression was measured in pretreatment marrow using Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center version 3.0 arrays in 187 younger (< 60 years) adults with CN-AML. Presence of other molecular prognosticators was assessed centrally. A gene-expression profile associated with miR-181a expression was derived using microarrays and evaluated by Gene-Ontology analysis.
Higher miR-181a expression associated with a higher complete remission (CR) rate (P = .04), longer overall survival (OS; P = .01) and a trend for longer disease-free survival (DFS; P = .09). The impact of miR-181a was most striking in poor molecular risk patients with FLT3-internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) and/or NPM1 wild-type, where higher miR-181a expression associated with a higher CR rate (P = .009), and longer DFS (P < .001) and OS (P < .001). In multivariable analyses, higher miR-181a expression was significantly associated with better outcome, both in the whole patient cohort and in patients with FLT3-ITD and/or NPM1 wild-type. These results were also validated in an independent set of older (≥ 60 years) patients with CN-AML. A miR-181a-associated gene-expression profile was characterized by enrichment of genes usually involved in innate immunity.
To our knowledge, we provide the first evidence that the expression of a single microRNA, miR-181a, is associated with clinical outcome of patients with CN-AML and may refine their molecular risk classification. Targeted treatments that increase endogenous levels of miR-181a might represent novel therapeutic strategies.
To analyze the frequency and associations with prognostic markers and outcome of mutations in IDH genes encoding isocitrate dehydrogenases in adult de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML).
Patients and Methods
Diagnostic bone marrow or blood samples from 358 patients were analyzed for IDH1 and IDH2 mutations by DNA polymerase chain reaction amplification/sequencing. FLT3, NPM1, CEBPA, WT1, and MLL mutational analyses and gene- and microRNA-expression profiling were performed centrally.
IDH mutations were found in 33% of the patients. IDH1 mutations were detected in 49 patients (14%; 47 with R132). IDH2 mutations, previously unreported in AML, were detected in 69 patients (19%; 13 with R172 and 56 with R140). R172 IDH2 mutations were mutually exclusive with all other prognostic mutations analyzed. Younger age (< 60 years), molecular low-risk (NPM1-mutated/FLT3-internal tandem duplication–negative) IDH1-mutated patients had shorter disease-free survival than molecular low-risk IDH1/IDH2-wild-type (wt) patients (P = .046). R172 IDH2-mutated patients had lower complete remission rates than IDH1/IDH2wt patients (P = .007). Distinctive microarray gene- and microRNA-expression profiles accurately predicted R172 IDH2 mutations. The highest expressed gene and microRNAs in R172 IDH2-mutated patients compared with the IDH1/IDH2wt patients were APP (previously associated with complex karyotype AML) and miR-1 and miR-133 (involved in embryonal stem-cell differentiation), respectively.
IDH1 and IDH2 mutations are recurrent in CN-AML and have an unfavorable impact on outcome. The R172 IDH2 mutations, previously unreported in AML, characterize a novel subset of CN-AML patients lacking other prognostic mutations and associate with unique gene- and microRNA-expression profiles that may lead to the discovery of novel, therapeutically targetable leukemogenic mechanisms.
The biologic and clinical significance of KIT overexpression that associates with KIT gain-of- function mutations occurring in subsets of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (i.e., core binding factor AML) is unknown. Here, we show that KIT mutations lead to MYC-dependent miR-29b repression and increased levels of the miR-29b target Sp1 in KIT-driven leukemia. Sp1 enhances its own expression by participating in a NFκB/HDAC complex that further represses miR-29b transcription. Upregulated Sp1 then binds NFκB and transactivates KIT. Therefore, activated KIT ultimately induces its own transcription. Our results provide evidence that the mechanisms of Sp1/NFκB/HDAC/miR-29b-dependent KIT overexpression contribute to leukemia growth and can be successfully targeted by pharmacological disruption of the Sp1/NFκB/HDAC complex or synthetic miR-29b treatment in KIT-driven AML.
To analyze the prognostic significance of NPM1 mutations, and the associated gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in older patients with de novo, cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) treated with intensive chemotherapy.
Patients and Methods
One hundred forty-eight adults age ≥ 60 years with de novo CN-AML, enrolled onto Cancer and Leukemia Group B protocols 9720 and 10201, were studied at diagnosis for NPM1, FLT3, CEBPA, and WT1 mutations, and gene- and microRNA-expression profiles.
Patients with NPM1 mutations (56%) had higher complete remission (CR) rates (84% v 48%; P < .001) and longer disease-free survival (DFS; P = .047; 3-year rates, 23% v 10%) and overall survival (OS; P < .001; 3-year rates, 35% v 8%) than NPM1 wild-type patients. In multivariable analyses, NPM1 mutations remained independent predictors for higher CR rates (P < .001) and longer DFS (P = .004) and OS (P < .001), after adjustment for other prognostic clinical and molecular variables. Unexpectedly, the prognostic impact of NPM1 mutations was mainly observed in patients ≥ 70 years. Gene- and microRNA-expression profiles associated with NPM1 mutations were similar across older patient age groups and similar to those in younger (< 60 years) patients with CN-AML. These profiles were characterized by upregulation of HOX genes and their embedded microRNAs and downregulation of the prognostically adverse MN1, BAALC, and ERG genes.
NPM1 mutations have favorable prognostic impact in older patients with CN-AML, especially those age ≥ 70 years. The gene- and microRNA-expression profiles suggest that NPM1 mutations constitute a marker defining a biologically homogeneous entity in CN-AML that might be treated with specific and/or targeted therapies across age groups.
MicroRNAs and heterogeneous ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) are posttranscriptional gene regulators that bind mRNA in a sequence-specific manner. Here, we report that loss of miR-328 occurs in blast crisis chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML-BC) in a BCR/ABL dose- and kinase-dependent manner through the MAPK-hnRNP E2 pathway. Restoration of miR-328 expression rescues differentiation and impairs survival of leukemic blasts by simultaneously interacting with the translational regulator poly(rC)-binding protein hnRNP E2 and with the mRNA encoding the survival factor PIM1, respectively. The interaction with hnRNP E2 is independent of the microRNA’s seed sequence and it leads to release of CEBPA mRNA from hnRNP E2-mediated translational inhibition. Altogether, these data reveal the dual ability of a microRNA to control cell fate both through base pairing with mRNA targets and through a decoy activity that interferes with the function of regulatory proteins.