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Concept: Myelodysplastic syndrome


The clinical importance of erythroid predominance in bone marrow of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is controversial. These cases represent a heterogeneous group of diseases that historically have been classified into different categories. We studied 313 AML patients and specifically compared the clinical, cytogenetic, and molecular features of cases of AML with erythroid predominance, arbitrarily defined as ≥50% erythroid precursors, to AML cases without erythroid predominance. We also assessed 51 patients with a high-grade myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB). All neoplasms were classified according to the World Health Organization classification. With the exception of therapy-related AML/MDS, the presence of erythroid predominance in variously classified categories of AML was associated with a survival advantage. In addition, AML with erythroid predominance had a lower frequency of cytogenetic abnormalities as well as a lower frequency of mutations involving NPM1, NRAS and FLT3 as compared with AML without erythroid predominance. We conclude that the clinical, cytogenetic, and molecular features of AML with erythroid predominance in the non-therapy-related setting are much closer to those of a high-grade myelodysplastic syndrome than they are to other types of AML.

Concepts: Cancer, Bone marrow, Hematology, Leukemia, Acute myeloid leukemia, Blood disorders, Myelodysplastic syndrome, Refractory anemia


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is an increased risk of acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) in persons with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). We utilized a large population-based cohort of individuals systematically screened for the presence or absence of MGUS. MGUS status was then linked to the diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and MDS. 17 315 patients age 50 and older (605 MGUS and 16 710 controls) with a cumulative 435 021 person-years of follow-up were studied. MGUS patients had a significantly higher risk of developing MDS compared with controls, hazard ratio 2.4 (95%CI 1.08,5.32), P=0.031. There was no statistically significant increase in the risk of AML (RR 1.36 P=0.675), and no increased risk of developing ALL.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 5 February 2013; doi:10.1038/leu.2013.34.

Concepts: Hematology, Leukemia, Acute myeloid leukemia, Blood disorders, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, Myelodysplastic syndrome, French-American-British classification


BackgroundRituximab-hyper-CVAD alternating with rituximab-high-dose methotrexate and cytarabine is a commonly utilized regimen in the United States for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) based on phase II single institutional data. To confirm the clinical efficacy of this regimen and determine its feasibility in a multicenter study that includes both academic and community-based practices, a phase II study of this regimen was conducted by SWOG.Patients and methodsForty-nine patients with advanced stage, previously untreated MCL were eligible. The median age was 57.4 years (35-69.8 years).ResultsNineteen patients (39%) did not complete the full scheduled course of treatment due to toxicity. There was one treatment-related death and two cases of secondary myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). There were 10 episodes of grade 3 febrile neutropenia, 19 episodes of grade 3 and 1 episode of grade 4 infection. With a median follow-up of 4.8 years, the median progression-free survival was 4.8 years (5.5 years for those ≤65 years) and the median overall survival (OS) was 6.8 years.ConclusionsAlthough this regimen is toxic, it is active for patients ≤65 years of age and can be given both at academic centers and in experienced community centers.

Concepts: Clinical trial, United States, Chemotherapy, Acute myeloid leukemia, Chemotherapy regimens, Fever, Mantle cell lymphoma, Myelodysplastic syndrome


Background Genetic mutations drive the pathogenesis of the myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and are closely associated with clinical phenotype. Therefore, genetic mutations may predict clinical outcomes after allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. Methods We performed targeted mutational analysis on samples obtained before transplantation from 1514 patients with MDS who were enrolled in the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Repository between 2005 and 2014. We evaluated the association of mutations with transplantation outcomes, including overall survival, relapse, and death without relapse. Results TP53 mutations were present in 19% of the patients and were associated with shorter survival and a shorter time to relapse than was the absence of TP53 mutations, after adjustment for significant clinical variables (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Among patients 40 years of age or older who did not have TP53 mutations, the presence of RAS pathway mutations was associated with shorter survival than was the absence of RAS pathway mutations (P=0.004), owing to a high risk of relapse, and the presence of JAK2 mutations was associated with shorter survival than was the absence of JAK2 mutations (P=0.001), owing to a high risk of death without relapse. The adverse prognostic effect of TP53 mutations was similar in patients who received reduced-intensity conditioning regimens and those who received myeloablative conditioning regimens. By contrast, the adverse effect of RAS pathway mutations on the risk of relapse, as compared with the absence of RAS pathway mutations, was evident only with reduced-intensity conditioning (P<0.001). In young adults, 4% of the patients had compound heterozygous mutations in the Shwachman-Diamond syndrome-associated SBDS gene with concurrent TP53 mutations and a poor prognosis. Mutations in the p53 regulator PPM1D were more common among patients with therapy-related MDS than those with primary MDS (15% vs. 3%, P<0.001). Conclusions Genetic profiling revealed that molecular subgroups of patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for MDS may inform prognostic stratification and the selection of conditioning regimen. (Funded by the Edward P. Evans Foundation and others.).

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Genetics, Mutation, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Compound heterozygosity, Myelodysplastic syndrome


Abstract Fewer than 10% of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are younger than 50 years. A series of 91 younger patients (median age 44 years with female prevalence) are reported and compared with elderly patients. Frequent karyotypic changes were trisomy 8 (9.8%) and monosomy 7 (5%). Twenty-three patients had occupational exposure to potential mutagens (benzene and solvents), with a male predominance, higher frequency of refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia (RCMD) (52%) and higher frequency of monosomy 7 (21.7%). At a median follow-up of 72 months, 22 patients (24%) evolved to acute leukemia, with higher frequency being observed among the exposed cohort (39% vs. 19% non-exposed). Unfavorable factors for overall survival were: age > 40 years, > 5% of blasts, trilinear bone marrow involvement and intermediate-high World Health Organization Prognostic Scoring System (WPSS) risk. The present results suggest that younger MDS could be identified as a distinct subset. For patients belonging to the low/intermediate-I risk group, due to a low transformation rate, aggressive approaches should rarely be recommended.

Concepts: Cancer, Bone marrow, Syndromes, Benzene, Acute myeloid leukemia, World Health Organization, Myelodysplastic syndrome, Refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia


Even though hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) dysfunction is presumed in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), the exact nature of quantitative and qualitative alterations is unknown. We conducted a study of phenotypic and molecular alterations in highly fractionated stem and progenitor populations in a variety of MDS subtypes. We observed an expansion of the phenotypically primitive long-term HSCs (lineage(-)/CD34(+)/CD38(-)/CD90(+)) in MDS, which was most pronounced in higher-risk cases. These MDS HSCs demonstrated dysplastic clonogenic activity. Examination of progenitors revealed that lower-risk MDS is characterized by expansion of phenotypic common myeloid progenitors, whereas higher-risk cases revealed expansion of granulocyte-monocyte progenitors. Genome-wide analysis of sorted MDS HSCs revealed widespread methylomic and transcriptomic alterations. STAT3 was an aberrantly hypomethylated and overexpressed target that was validated in an independent cohort and found to be functionally relevant in MDS HSCs. FISH analysis demonstrated that a very high percentage of MDS HSC (92% ± 4%) carry cytogenetic abnormalities. Longitudinal analysis in a patient treated with 5-azacytidine revealed that karyotypically abnormal HSCs persist even during complete morphologic remission and that expansion of clonotypic HSCs precedes clinical relapse. This study demonstrates that stem and progenitor cells in MDS are characterized by stage-specific expansions and contain epigenetic and genetic alterations.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Hematology, Syndromes, Acute myeloid leukemia, Virtual Karyotype, Dysplasia, Myelodysplastic syndrome


The dysregulation of proper transcriptional control is a major cause of developmental diseases and cancers. Polycomb proteins form chromatin-modifying complexes that transcriptionally silence genome regions in higher eukaryotes. The BCL6 corepressor (BCOR) complex comprises ring finger protein 1B (RNF2/RING1B), polycomb group ring finger 1 (PCGF1), and lysine-specific demethylase 2B (KDM2B) and is uniquely recruited to non-methylated CpG islands, where it removes histone H3K36me2 and induces repressive histone H2A monoubiquitylation. Germline BCOR mutations have been detected in patients with oculofaciocardiodental and Lenz microphthalmia syndromes, which are inherited conditions. Recently, several variants of BCOR and BCOR-like 1 (BCORL1) chimeric fusion transcripts were reported in human cancers, including acute promyelocytic leukemia, bone sarcoma, and hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, massively parallel sequencing has identified inactivating somatic BCOR and BCORL1 mutations in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, medulloblastoma, and retinoblastoma. More importantly, AML and MDS patients with BCOR mutations exhibit poor prognosis. This perspective highlights the detection of BCOR mutations and fusion transcripts of BCOR and BCORL1 and discusses their importance for diagnosing cancer subtypes and estimating the treatment responses of patients. Furthermore, this perspective proposes the need for additional functional studies to clarify the oncogenic mechanism by which BCOR and BCORL1 are disrupted in cancers, and how this may lead to the development of novel therapeutics.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Types of cancer, Leukemia, Chromosomal translocation, Acute myeloid leukemia, Blood disorders, Myelodysplastic syndrome


Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation contributes to premalignant hematologic conditions, such as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). TRAF6, a TLR effector with ubiquitin (Ub) ligase activity, is overexpressed in MDS hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). We found that TRAF6 overexpression in mouse HSPC results in impaired hematopoiesis and bone marrow failure. Using a global Ub screen, we identified hnRNPA1, an RNA-binding protein and auxiliary splicing factor, as a substrate of TRAF6. TRAF6 ubiquitination of hnRNPA1 regulated alternative splicing of Arhgap1, which resulted in activation of the GTP-binding Rho family protein Cdc42 and accounted for hematopoietic defects in TRAF6-expressing HSPCs. These results implicate Ub signaling in coordinating RNA processing by TLR pathways during an immune response and in premalignant hematologic diseases, such as MDS.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Enzyme, RNA, Bone marrow, Innate immune system, Hematology, Myelodysplastic syndrome


The t(6;9)(p23;q34);DEK-NUP214 [t(6;9)] abnormality is found in 0.7-1.8% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). FLT3-ITD mutations are detected in t(6;9) patients. The t(6;9) abnormality is associated with poor outcomes. We studied the clinicopathologic and molecular profiles of patients with AML/MDS carrying t(6;9).

Concepts: Cancer, Hematology, Syndromes, Leukemia, Acute myeloid leukemia, Myelodysplastic syndrome, French-American-British classification, Hematopathology


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are initiated and sustained by self-renewing malignant stem cells; thus, eradication of AML and MDS stem cells is required for cure. We identified CD99 as a cell surface protein frequently overexpressed on AML and MDS stem cells. Expression of CD99 allows for prospective separation of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) from functionally normal hematopoietic stem cells in AML, and high CD99 expression on AML blasts enriches for functional LSCs as demonstrated by limiting dilution xenotransplant studies. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting CD99 induce the death of AML and MDS cells in a SARC family kinase-dependent manner in the absence of immune effector cells or complement, and anti-CD99 mAbs exhibit antileukemic activity in AML xenografts. These data establish CD99 as a marker of AML and MDS stem cells, as well as a promising therapeutic target in these disorders.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Cancer, Bone marrow, Immunology, Leukemia, Acute myeloid leukemia, Myelodysplastic syndrome