Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common pediatric cancer. Monitoring minimal residual disease (MRD) by using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) provides information for patient stratification and individual risk-directed treatment. Cooperative studies have documented that measurement of blast clearance from the bone marrow during and after induction therapy identifies patient populations with different risk of relapse. We explored the possible contribution of measurements of MRD during the course of treatment.
The SH2B adaptor protein 3 (SH2B3) gene encodes a negative regulator of cytokine signaling with a critical role in the homeostasis of hematopoietic stem cells and lymphoid progenitors. Here, we report the identification of germline homozygous SH2B3 mutations in 2 siblings affected with developmental delay and autoimmunity, one in whom B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) developed. Mechanistically, loss of SH2B3 increases Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription signaling, promotes lymphoid cell proliferation, and accelerates leukemia development in a mouse model of NOTCH1-induced ALL. Moreover, extended mutation analysis showed homozygous somatic mutations in SH2B3 in 2 of 167 ALLs analyzed. Overall, these results demonstrate a Knudson tumor suppressor role for SH2B3 in the pathogenesis of ALL and highlight a possible link between genetic predisposition factors in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity and leukemogenesis.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is an aggressive hematological tumor resulting from the malignant transformation of lymphoid progenitors. Despite intensive chemotherapy, 20% of pediatric patients and over 50% of adult patients with ALL do not achieve a complete remission or relapse after intensified chemotherapy, making disease relapse and resistance to therapy the most substantial challenge in the treatment of this disease. Using whole-exome sequencing, we identify mutations in the cytosolic 5-nucleotidase II gene (NT5C2), which encodes a 5-nucleotidase enzyme that is responsible for the inactivation of nucleoside-analog chemotherapy drugs, in 20/103 (19%) relapse T cell ALLs and 1/35 (3%) relapse B-precursor ALLs. NT5C2 mutant proteins show increased nucleotidase activity in vitro and conferred resistance to chemotherapy with 6-mercaptopurine and 6-thioguanine when expressed in ALL lymphoblasts. These results support a prominent role for activating mutations in NT5C2 and increased nucleoside-analog metabolism in disease progression and chemotherapy resistance in ALL.
Interleukin 7 (IL-7) and its receptor, formed by IL-7R? (encoded by IL7R) and ?c, are essential for normal T-cell development and homeostasis. Here we show that IL7R is an oncogene mutated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). We find that 9% of individuals with T-ALL have somatic gain-of-function IL7R exon 6 mutations. In most cases, these IL7R mutations introduce an unpaired cysteine in the extracellular juxtamembrane-transmembrane region and promote de novo formation of intermolecular disulfide bonds between mutant IL-7R? subunits, thereby driving constitutive signaling via JAK1 and independently of IL-7, ?c or JAK3. IL7R mutations induce a gene expression profile partially resembling that provoked by IL-7 and are enriched in the T-ALL subgroup comprising TLX3 rearranged and HOXA deregulated cases. Notably, IL7R mutations promote cell transformation and tumor formation. Overall, our findings indicate that IL7R mutational activation is involved in human T-cell leukemogenesis, paving the way for therapeutic targeting of IL-7R-mediated signaling in T-ALL.
Evidence shows that extracellular ATP signals influence myogenesis, regeneration and physiology of skeletal muscle. Present work was aimed at characterizing the extracellular ATP signaling system of skeletal muscle C2C12 cells during differentiation. We show that mechanical and electrical stimulation produces substantial release of ATP from differentiated myotubes, but not from proliferating myoblasts. Extracellular ATP-hydrolyzing activity is low in myoblasts and high in myotubes, consistent with the increased expression of extracellular enzymes during differentiation. Stimulation of cells with extracellular nucleotides produces substantial Ca(2+) transients, whose amplitude and shape changed during differentiation. Consistently, C2C12 cells express several P2X and P2Y receptors, whose level changes along with maturation stages. Supplementation with either ATP or UTP stimulates proliferation of C2C12 myoblasts, whereas excessive doses were cytotoxic. The data indicate that skeletal muscle development is accompanied by major functional changes in extracellular ATP signaling.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive hematologic tumor resulting from the malignant transformation of immature T-cell progenitors. Originally associated with a dismal prognosis, the outcome of T-ALL patients has improved remarkably over the last two decades as a result of the introduction of intensified chemotherapy protocols. However, these treatments are associated with significant acute and long-term toxicities, and the treatment of patients presenting with primary resistant disease or those relapsing after a transient response remains challenging. T-ALL is a genetically heterogeneous disease in which numerous chromosomal and genetic alterations cooperate to promote the aberrant proliferation and survival of leukemic lymphoblasts. However, the identification of activating mutations in the NOTCH1 gene in over 50% of T-ALL cases has come to define aberrant NOTCH signaling as a central player in this disease. Therefore, the NOTCH pathway represents an important potential therapeutic target. In this review, we will update our current understanding of the molecular basis of T-ALL, with a particular focus on the role of the NOTCH1 oncogene and the development of anti-NOTCH1 targeted therapies for the treatment of this disease.
The molecular mechanisms involved in disease progression and relapse in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) are poorly understood. We used single nucleotide polymorphism array analysis to analyze paired diagnostic and relapsed T-ALL samples to identify recurrent genetic alterations in T-ALL. This analysis showed that diagnosis and relapsed cases have common genetic alterations, but also that relapsed samples frequently lose chromosomal markers present at diagnosis, suggesting that relapsed T-ALL emerges from an ancestral clone different from the major leukemic population at diagnosis. In addition, we identified deletions and associated mutations in the WT1 tumor suppressor gene in 2 of 9 samples. Subsequent analysis showed WT1 mutations in 28 of 211 (13.2%) of pediatric and 10 of 85 (11.7%) of adult T-ALL cases. WT1 mutations present in T-ALL are predominantly heterozygous frameshift mutations resulting in truncation of the C-terminal zinc finger domains of this transcription factor. WT1 mutations are most prominently found in T-ALL cases with aberrant rearrangements of the oncogenic TLX1, TLX3, and HOXA transcription factor oncogenes. Survival analysis demonstrated that WT1 mutations do not confer adverse prognosis in pediatric and adult T-ALL. Overall, these results identify the presence of WT1 mutations as a recurrent genetic alteration in T-ALL.
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