Haider Z, Larsson P, Landfors M, Köhn L, Schmiegelow K, Flaegstad T, Kanerva J, Heyman M, Hultdin M, Degerman S
Cancer Med 8 (1) 311-324 [2019-01-00; online 2018-12-21]
Classification of pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) patients into CIMP (CpG Island Methylator Phenotype) subgroups has the potential to improve current risk stratification. To investigate the biology behind these CIMP subgroups, diagnostic samples from Nordic pediatric T-ALL patients were characterized by genome-wide methylation arrays, followed by targeted exome sequencing, telomere length measurement, and RNA sequencing. The CIMP subgroups did not correlate significantly with variations in epigenetic regulators. However, the CIMP+ subgroup, associated with better prognosis, showed indicators of longer replicative history, including shorter telomere length (P = 0.015) and older epigenetic (P < 0.001) and mitotic age (P < 0.001). Moreover, the CIMP+ subgroup had significantly higher expression of ANTP homeobox oncogenes, namely TLX3, HOXA9, HOXA10, and NKX2-1, and novel genes in T-ALL biology including PLCB4, PLXND1, and MYO18B. The CIMP- subgroup, with worse prognosis, was associated with higher expression of TAL1 along with frequent STIL-TAL1 fusions (2/40 in CIMP+ vs 11/24 in CIMP-), as well as stronger expression of BEX1. Altogether, our findings suggest different routes for leukemogenic transformation in the T-ALL CIMP subgroups, indicated by different replicative histories and distinct methylomic and transcriptomic profiles. These novel findings can lead to new therapeutic strategies.
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