Tsagiopoulou M, Papakonstantinou N, Moysiadis T, Mansouri L, Ljungström V, Duran-Ferrer M, Malousi A, Queirós AC, Plevova K, Bhoi S, Kollia P, Oscier D, Anagnostopoulos A, Trentin L, Ritgen M, Pospisilova S, Stavroyianni N, Ghia P, Martin-Subero JI, Pott C, Rosenquist R, Stamatopoulos K
Clin Epigenetics 11 (1) 177 [2019-12-02; online 2019-12-02]
In order to gain insight into the contribution of DNA methylation to disease progression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), using 450K Illumina arrays, we determined the DNA methylation profiles in paired pre-treatment/relapse samples from 34 CLL patients treated with chemoimmunotherapy, mostly (n = 31) with the fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab (FCR) regimen. The extent of identified changes in CLL cells versus memory B cells from healthy donors was termed "epigenetic burden" (EB) whereas the number of changes between the pre-treatment versus the relapse sample was termed "relapse changes" (RC). Significant (p < 0.05) associations were identified between (i) high EB and short time-to-first-treatment (TTFT); and, (ii) few RCs and short time-to-relapse. Both the EB and the RC clustered in specific genomic regions and chromatin states, including regulatory regions containing binding sites of transcription factors implicated in B cell and CLL biology. Overall, we show that DNA methylation in CLL follows different dynamics in response to chemoimmunotherapy. These epigenetic alterations were linked with specific clinical and biological features.