A number of single nucleotide polymorphisms have been associated with disease predisposition in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the MDM2 promotor region, MDM2SNP309, was shown to soothe the p53 pathway. In the current study, we aimed to clarify the effect of the MDM2SNP309 on chronic lymphocytic leukemia characteristics and outcome. We performed a meta-analysis of data from 2598 individual patients from 10 different cohorts. Patients' data and genetic analysis for MDM2SNP309 genotype, immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region mutation status and fluorescence in situ hybridization results were collected. There were no differences in overall survival based on the polymorphism (log rank test, stratified by study cohort; P=0.76; GG genotype: cohort-adjusted median overall survival of 151 months; TG: 153 months; TT: 149 months). In a multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, advanced age, male sex and unmutated immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region genes were associated with inferior survival, but not the MDM2 genotype. The MDM2SNP309 is unlikely to influence disease characteristics and prognosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Studies investigating the impact of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms on prognosis are often controversial. This may be due to selection bias and small sample size. A meta-analysis based on individual patient data provides a reasonable strategy for prognostic factor analyses in the case of small individual studies. Individual patient data-based meta-analysis can, therefore, be a powerful tool to assess genetic risk factors in the absence of large studies.
A commonly deleted region in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the 11q22-23 region, which encompasses the ATM gene. Evidence suggests that tumor suppressor genes other than ATM are likely to be involved in CLL with del(11q). A microRNA (miR) cluster including the miR-34b and miR-34c genes is located, among other genes, within the commonly deleted region (CDR) at 11q. Interestingly, these miRs are part of the TP53 network and have been shown to be epigenetically regulated. In this study, we investigated the expression and methylation status of these miRs in a well-characterized cohort of CLL, including cases with/without 11q-deletion. We show that the miR-34b/c promoter was aberrantly hypermethylated in a large proportion of CLL cases (48%, 25/52 cases). miR-34b/c expression correlated inversely to DNA methylation (P = 0.003), and presence of high H3K37me3 further suppressed expression regardless of methylation status. Furthermore, increased miR-34b/c methylation inversely correlated with the presence of 11q-deletion, indicating that methylation and del(11q) independently silence these miRs. Finally, 5-azacytidine and trichostatin A exposure synergistically increased the expression of miR-34b/c in CLL cells, and transfection of miR-34b or miR-34c into HG3 CLL cells significantly increased apoptosis. Altogether, our novel data suggest that miR-34b/c is a candidate tumor suppressor that is epigenetically silenced in CLL.
IgG-switched chronic lymphocytic leukemia (G-CLL) is a rare variant of CLL, whose origin and ontogenetic relationship to the common IgM/IgD (MD-CLL) variant remains undefined. Here we sought for clues regarding the ontogeny of G-CLL versus MD-CLL by profiling the relevant IG gene repertoires.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have shown that common genetic variation contributes to the heritable risk of CLL. To identify additional CLL susceptibility loci, we conducted a GWAS and performed a meta-analysis with a published GWAS totaling 1,739 individuals with CLL (cases) and 5,199 controls with validation in an additional 1,144 cases and 3,151 controls. A combined analysis identified new susceptibility loci mapping to 3q26.2 (rs10936599, P = 1.74 × 10(-9)), 4q26 (rs6858698, P = 3.07 × 10(-9)), 6q25.2 (IPCEF1, rs2236256, P = 1.50 × 10(-10)) and 7q31.33 (POT1, rs17246404, P = 3.40 × 10(-8)). Additionally, we identified a promising association at 5p15.33 (CLPTM1L, rs31490, P = 1.72 × 10(-7)) and validated recently reported putative associations at 5p15.33 (TERT, rs10069690, P = 1.12 × 10(-10)) and 8q22.3 (rs2511714, P = 2.90 × 10(-9)). These findings provide further insights into the genetic and biological basis of inherited genetic susceptibility to CLL.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clinically and biologically heterogeneous disease where the majority of patients have an indolent disease course, while others may experience a far more aggressive disease, treatment failure and poor overall survival. During the last two decades, there has been an intense search to find novel biomarkers that can predict prognosis as well as guide treatment decisions. Two of the most reliable molecular prognostic markers, both of which are offered in routine diagnostics, are the immunoglobulin heavy chain variable (IGHV) gene mutational status and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) detection of prognostically relevant genomic aberrations (e.g. 11q-, 13q-, +12 and 17p-). In addition to these markers, a myriad of additional biomarkers have been postulated as potential prognosticators in CLL, on the protein (e.g. CD38, ZAP70, TCL1), the RNA (e.g. LPL, CLLU1, micro-RNAs) and the genomic (e.g. TP53, NOTCH1, SF3B1 and BIRC3 mutations) level. Efforts are now being made to test these novel markers in larger patient cohorts as well as in prospective trials, with the ultimate goal to combine the "best" markers in a "CLL prognostic index" applicable for the individual patient. Although it is clear that these studies have significantly improved our knowledge regarding both prognostication and the biology of the disease, there is still an immediate need for recognizing biomarkers that can predict therapy response, and efforts should now focus on addressing this pertinent issue. In the present article, we review the extensive literature in the field of prognostic markers in CLL, focus on the most clinically relevant markers and discuss future directions regarding biomarkers in CLL.
Abstract During recent years, microarray-based technologies and next-generation sequencing (NGS) have been applied in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in order to identify novel genomic aberrations that may contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease. Even though high-resolution microarray studies have confirmed the importance of the known recurrent aberrations, i.e. del(11q), trisomy 12, del(13q) and del(17p), and have more precisely delineated the genomic borders of these aberrations, only a few novel aberrations, found at a low frequency, have been detected with these techniques. In contrast to this, the application of NGS technology of the coding genome (exome sequencing) or the entire genome (whole-genome sequencing) has unveiled a number of novel recurrent mutations in e.g. the NOTCH1, SF3B1 and BIRC3 genes. Importantly, mutations in these latter genes were reported to be associated with a particularly poor outcome, similar to TP53 aberrations, and may play key roles in tumor development, treatment resistance and prognosis. In this review, we not only summarize the latest achievements using array-based or NGS technologies, but also point to new directions for research aiming to unravel the complex genetic "map" in CLL and its prognostic subsets.
Recent multi-stage genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are robustly associated with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) risk. Given that most of these SNPs map to non-coding regions of the genome, it suggests that the functional basis of many GWAS signals will be through differential gene expression. By referencing publically accessible expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) data on lymphoblastoid cells lines (LCLs) we have globally demonstrated an association between GWAS P-values and eQTLs, consistent with much of the variation in CLL risk being defined by variants impacting on gene expression. To explore using eQTL data to select GWAS SNPs for replication, we genotyped rs2072135 (GWAS P-value = 0·0024, eQTL P-value = 1·510(-19)) in five independent case-control series totalling 1968 cases and 3538 controls. While not attaining statistical significance (combined P-value = 1 × 10(-4)), rs2072135 defines a promising risk locus for CLL. Incorporating eQTL information offers an attractive strategy for selecting SNPs from GWAS for validation.
Most previous studies on telomere length (TL) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are based on referral cohorts including a high proportion of aggressive cases. Here, the impact of TL was analyzed in a population-based cohort of newly diagnosed CLL (n = 265) and in relation to other prognostic markers. Short telomeres were particularly associated with high-risk genetic markers, such as NOTCH1, SF3B1, or TP53 aberrations, and predicted a short time to treatment (TTT) and overall survival (OS) (both P < 0.0001). TL was an independent prognostic factor and subdivided patients with otherwise good-prognostic features (e.g., mutated IGHV genes, favorable cytogenetics) into subgroups with different outcome. Furthermore, in follow-up samples (n = 119) taken 5-8 years after diagnosis, TL correlated well with TL at diagnosis and remained unaffected by treatment. Altogether, these novel data indicate that short TL already at diagnosis is associated with poor outcome in CLL and that TL can be measured at later stages of the disease.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is characterized by a multitude of genetic aberrations with unknown clinical impact. In this study, we aimed to identify gene copy number changes that correlate with clinical outcome in NSCLC. To maximize the chance to identify clinically relevant events, we applied a strategy involving two prognostically extreme patient groups.
High-resolution genomic microarrays enable simultaneous detection of copy-number aberrations such as the known recurrent aberrations in chronic lymphocytic leukemia [del(11q), del(13q), del(17p) and trisomy 12], and copy-number neutral loss of heterozygosity. Moreover, comparison of genomic profiles from sequential patients samples allows detection of clonal evolution.
The expression levels of LPL, ZAP70, TCL1A, CLLU1 and MCL1 have recently been proposed as prognostic factors in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. However, few studies have systematically compared these different RNA-based markers.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can be divided into prognostic subgroups based on the IGHV gene mutational status, and is further characterized by multiple subsets of cases with quasi-identical or stereotyped B cell receptors that also share clinical and biological features. We recently reported differential DNA methylation profiles in IGHV-mutated and IGHV-unmutated CLL subgroups. For the first time, we here explore the global methylation profiles of stereotyped subsets with different prognosis, by applying high-resolution methylation arrays on CLL samples from three major stereotyped subsets: the poor-prognostic subsets #1 (n = 15) and #2 (n = 9) and the favorable-prognostic subset #4 (n = 15). Overall, the three subsets exhibited significantly different methylation profiles, which only partially overlapped with those observed in our previous study according to IGHV gene mutational status. Specifically, gene ontology analysis of the differentially methylated genes revealed a clear enrichment of genes involved in immune response, such as B cell activation (e.g., CD80, CD86 and IL10), with higher methylation levels in subset #1 than subsets #2 and #4. Accordingly, higher expression of the co-stimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86 was demonstrated in subset #4 vs. subset #1, pointing to a key role for these molecules in the crosstalk of CLL subset #4 cells with the microenvironment. In summary, investigation of three prototypic, stereotyped CLL subsets revealed distinct DNA methylation profiles for each subset, which suggests subset-biased patterns of transcriptional control and highlights a key role for epigenetics during leukemogenesis.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells express the receptor for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and can be infected in vitro. Infected cells do not express the growth-promoting set of EBV-encoded genes and therefore they do not yield LCLs, in most experiments. With exceptional clones, lines were obtained however. We describe a new line, HG3, established by in vitro EBV-infection from an IGHV1-2 unmutated CLL patient clone. All cells expressed EBNA-2 and LMP-1, the EBV-encoded genes pivotal for transformation. The karyotype, FISH cytogenetics and SNP-array profile of the line and the patients ex vivo clone showed biallelic 13q14 deletions with genomic loss of DLEU7, miR15a/miR16-1, the two micro-RNAs that are deleted in 50% of CLL cases. Further features of CLL cells were: expression of CD5/CD20/CD27/CD43 and release of IgM natural antibodies reacting with oxLDL-like epitopes on apoptotic cells (cf. stereotyped subset-1). Comparison with two LCLs established from normal B cells showed 32 genes expressed at higher levels (> 2-fold). Among these were LHX2 and LILRA. These genes may play a role in the development of the disease. LHX2 expression was shown in self-renewing multipotent hematopoietic stem cells, and LILRA4 codes for a receptor for bone marrow stromal cell antigen-2 that contributes to B cell development. Twenty-four genes were expressed at lower levels, among these PARD3 that is essential for asymmetric cell division. These genes may contribute to establish precursors of CLL clones by regulation of cellular phenotype in the hematopoietic compartment. Expression of CD5/CD20/CD27/CD43 and spontaneous production of natural antibodies may identify the CLL cell as a self-renewing B1 lymphocyte.
Advances in next-generation RNA-sequencing have revealed the complexity of transcriptomes by allowing both coding and noncoding(nc)RNAs to be analyzed. However, limited data exist regarding the whole transcriptional landscape of chronic lymphocytic leukemia(CLL). In this pilot-study, we evaluated RNA-sequencing in CLL by comparing two subsets which carry almost identical or "stereotyped" B-cell receptors with distinct clinical outcome, that is the poor-prognostic subset #1 (n 5 4) and the more favorable-prognostic subset #4(n 5 4). Our analysis revealed that 156 genes (e.g. LPL, WNT9A) and 76 ncRNAs, (e.g. SNORD48, SNORD115) were differentially expressed between the subsets. This technology also enabled us to identify numerous subset-specific splice variants (n 5 406), which were predominantly expressed in subset #1, including a splice-isoform of MSI2 with a novel start exon. A further important application of RNA-sequencing was for mutation detection and revealed 16–30 missense mutations per sample; notably many of these changes were found in genes with a strong potential for involvement in CLL pathogenesis, e.g., ATM and NOTCH2.This study not only demonstrates the effectiveness of RNA-sequencing for identifying mutations, quantifying gene expression and detecting splicing events, but also highlights the potential such global approaches have to significantly advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind CLL development.
The IGHV3-21 gene has been shown to be overrepresented in Scandinavian patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). By investigating a population-based cohort of 337 Swedish patients with CLL, a lower (6.5%)IGHV3-21 frequency was determined relative to our previous hospital-based studies (10.1%-12.7%), yet this frequency remained higher compared to other Western CLL cohorts (2.6%-4.1%). Furthermore, we confirmed the poor outcome for patients with IGHV3-21 to be independent of mutational and stereotypy status.
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are mature CD5(+) B-cell malignancies with different biological/clinical characteristics. We recently reported an association between different prognostic subgroups of CLL (i.e., IGHV mutated and unmutated) and genomic methylation pattern. However, the relationship between DNA methylation and prognostic markers, such as the proliferation gene expression signature, has not been investigated in MCL. We applied high-resolution methylation microarrays (27,578 CpG sites) to assess the global DNA methylation profiles in 20 MCL (10 each with high/low proliferation signature) and 30 CLL (15 poor-prognostic IGHV unmutated subset #1 and 15 good-prognostic IGHV mutated subset #4) samples. Notably, MCL and each CLL subset displayed distinct genomic methylation profiles. After unsupervised hierarchical clustering, 17/20 MCL cases formed a cluster separate from CLL, while CLL subsets #1 and #4 formed subclusters. Surprisingly, few differentially methylated genes (n = 6) were identified between high vs. low proliferation MCL. In contrast, distinct methylation profiles were demonstrated for MCL and CLL. Importantly, certain functional classes of genes were preferentially methylated in either disease. For instance, developmental genes, in particular homeobox transcription factor genes (e.g., HLXB9, HOXA13), were more highly methylated in MCL, whereas apoptosis-related genes were enriched among targets methylated in CLL (e.g., CYFIP2, NR4A1). Results were validated using pyrosequencing, RQ-PCR and reexpression of specific genes. In summary, the methylation profile of MCL was homogeneous and no correlation with the proliferation signature was observed. Compared to CLL, however, marked differences were discovered such as the preferential methylation of homeobox genes in MCL.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is most often indolent at diagnosis but has a highly variable clinical course, and many patients will eventually progress and require treatment. Currently, there are a number of clinical and molecular markers known to be predictive of prognosis in CLL that can be applied to discriminate patients that are more likely to develop a progressive disease. Gene-expression profiling studies have identified genes with differential expression between prognostic subgroups in CLL, and research on these RNA-based prognostic markers has expanded during recent years. For example, high lipoprotein lipase and CLLU1 mRNA expression have recently been shown to be strong markers of poor clinical outcome. In this review we will provide a summary of the most significant prognostic markers in CLL, focusing on the recent category of RNA-based markers in particular.
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