Characterisation of the GRAF gene promoter and its methylation in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.
ABSTRACT: We report the isolation of the 5' flanking region of GRAF (GTPase regulator associated with the focal adhesion kinase), previously described as a putative tumour suppressor gene of acute myelogenous leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, and demonstrate its promoter activity in reporter gene assays. Two putative protein-binding sites are identified of which one was sensitive to CpG methylation. The suppressed GRAF expression could be restored in leukaemia cell lines by treatment with a demethylating agent and an inhibitor of histone deacetylases. In contrast to normal tissues, which tested negative for GRAF promoter methylation, 11 of 29 (38%) bone marrow samples from patients with acute myeloid leukaemia or myelodysplastic syndrome were positive.
Project description:BACKGROUND: GTPase regulator associated with the focal adhesion kinase (GRAF), a putative tumor suppressor gene, is found inactivated in hematopoietic malignancies by either genetic or epigenetic abnormalities. However, the expression level of GRAF gene has not yet been studied in leukemia. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression level of GRAF gene in those patients with myeloid malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). METHODS: The expression levels of GRAF transcript were determined in 94 patients using real-time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR). Clinical and laboratory data of these patients were collected and analyzed. RESULTS: The significantly decreased level of GRAF transcript was observed in three myeloid malignancies compared to controls. Within AML, there was no difference in the level of GRAF transcript among different FAB subtypes (P > 0.05). Difference was not observed in the amount of GRAF mRNA between CML at chronic phase and controls. As CML progressed, GRAF transcript significantly decreased. In MDS, three cases with 5q deletion had lower GRAF transcript than four without 5q deletion (median 0.76 vs 2.99) (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: our results demonstrate that the GRAF transcript is decreased in myeloid malignancies.
Project description:Hypomethylating agents are used to treat cancers driven by aberrant DNA methylation, but their short half-life might limit their activity, particularly in patients with less proliferative diseases. Guadecitabine (SGI-110) is a novel hypomethylating dinucleotide of decitabine and deoxyguanosine resistant to degradation by cytidine deaminase. We aimed to assess the safety and clinical activity of subcutaneously given guadecitabine in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia or myelodysplastic syndrome.In this multicentre, open-label, phase 1 study, patients from nine North American medical centres with myelodysplastic syndrome or acute myeloid leukaemia that was refractory to or had relapsed after standard treatment were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive subcutaneous guadecitabine, either once-daily for 5 consecutive days (daily × 5), or once-weekly for 3 weeks, in a 28-day treatment cycle. Patients were stratified by disease. A 3 + 3 dose-escalation design was used in which we treated patients with guadecitabine doses of 3-125 mg/m(2) in separate dose-escalation cohorts. A twice-weekly treatment schedule was added to the study after a protocol amendment. The primary objective was to assess safety and tolerability of guadecitabine, determine the maximum tolerated and biologically effective dose, and identify the recommended phase 2 dose of guadecitabine. Safety analyses included all patients who received at least one dose of guadecitabine. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses to determine the biologically effective dose included all patients for whom samples were available. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01261312.Between Jan 4, 2011, and April 11, 2014, we enrolled and treated 93 patients: 35 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and nine patients with myelodysplastic syndrome in the daily × 5 dose-escalation cohorts, 28 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and six patients with myelodysplastic syndrome in the once-weekly dose-escalation cohorts, and 11 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and four patients with myelodysplastic syndrome in the twice-weekly dose-escalation cohorts. The most common grade 3 or higher adverse events were febrile neutropenia (38 [41%] of 93 patients), pneumonia (27 [29%] of 93 patients), thrombocytopenia (23 [25%] of 93 patients), anaemia (23 [25%] of 93 patients), and sepsis (16 [17%] of 93 patients). The most common serious adverse events were febrile neutropenia (29 [31%] of 93 patients), pneumonia (26 [28%] of 93 patients), and sepsis (16 [17%] of 93 patients). Six of the 74 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and six of the 19 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome had a clinical response to treatment. Two dose-limiting toxicities were noted in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome at 125 mg/m(2) daily × 5, thus the maximum tolerated dose in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome was 90 mg/m(2) daily × 5. The maximum tolerated dose was not reached in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia. Potent dose-related DNA demethylation occurred on the daily × 5 regimen, reaching a plateau at 60 mg/m(2) (designated as the biologically effective dose).Guadecitabine given subcutaneously at 60 mg/m(2) daily × 5 is well tolerated and is clinically and biologically active in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukaemia. Guadecitabine 60 mg/m(2) daily × 5 is the recommended phase 2 dose, and these findings warrant further phase 2 studies.Astex Pharmaceuticals, Stand Up To Cancer.
Project description:The complex mechanistic array underlying the pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is still unclear. Although dysregulations of different signaling pathways involved in MDS have been described, the identification of specific biomarkers and therapy targets remains an important task in order to establish novel therapeutic approaches. Here, we demonstrated that the Shh signaling pathway is active in MDS and correlated it with disease progression. Additionally, the knockdown of Gli1 significantly inhibited cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Gli1 silencing also induced apoptosis and G0/G1 phase arrest. Furthermore, Gli1 silencing enhanced the demethylating effect of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine on the p15 gene promoter and subsequently promoted its expression by inhibiting DNA methyltransferase 1(DNMT1). Our findings show that the Shh signaling pathway plays a role in the pathogenesis and disease progression of MDS, and proceeds by modulating DNA methylation. This pathway may prove to be a potential therapeutic target for enhancing the therapeutic effects of 5-azacytidine on malignant transformation of MDS.
Project description:We have previously shown that arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula, Qing-Huang powder capsule (containing tetraarsenic tetrasulfide, As(4)S(4)), is effective in the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS); yet the underlined mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, using standard cytogenetic analysis (G-banded) and global DNA methylation method (ChIP-on-chip assays), we aimed to determine the effect of arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula on karyotype status and the genomic methylation level in primarily diagnosed MDS patients. Correlation of aberrant DNA methylation and chromosome aberrations in MDS was also investigated. We found that the number of genes with aberrant DNA methylation was highest in MDS patients with normal karyotype, followed by trisomy 8 karyotype, and relatively low in patients with cytogenetic abnormalities other than trisomy 8. Treatment with arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula had no effects on karyotype status, but resulted in a significant genome-wide demethylation. Our research uncovered a DNA demethylating activity of arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula in the treatment of MDS.
Project description:Although recent observations implicate the importance of telomerase activity in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), the roles of epigenetic regulations of the TERT gene in leukaemogenesis, drug resistance and clinical prognosis in AML are not fully understood. We developed a quantitative pyrosequencing-based methylation assay covering the TERT proximal promoter and a partial exon 1 (TERTpro/Ex1) region and tested both cell lines and primary leukaemia cells derived from AML and AML with preceding myelodysplastic syndrome (AML/MDS) patients (n = 43). Prognostic impact of methylation status of the upstream TERT promoter region was assessed by the Kaplan-Meier method. The activity of the telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, was measured using leukaemia cell lines. The TERTpro/Ex1 region was highly methylated in all cell lines and primary leukaemia cells showed diverse methylation profiles. Most cases showed hypermethylated regions at the upstream TERTpro/Ex1 region, which were associated with inferior patient survival. TERTpro/Ex1 methylation status was correlated with the cytotoxicity to imetelstat and its combination with hypomethylating agent enhanced the cytotoxicity of imetelstat. AML cell lines and primary blasts harbour distinct TERTpro/Ex1 methylation profiles that could serve as a prognostic biomarker of AML. However, validation in a large cohort of patients is necessary to confirm our findings.
Project description:We have isolated the human GRAF gene (for GTPase regulator associated with the focal adhesion kinase pp125(FAK)). This gene was fused with MLL in a unique t(5;11)(q31;q23) that occurred in an infant with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. GRAF encodes a member of the Rho family of the GTPase-activating protein (GAP) family. On the protein level, it is 90% homologous to the recently described chicken GRAF gene that functions as a GAP of RhoA in vivo and is thus a critical component of the integrin signaling transduction pathway. The particular position of the human GRAF gene at 5q31 and the proposed antiproliferative and tumor suppressor properties of its avian homologue suggest that it also might be pathogenetically relevant for hematologic malignancies with deletions of 5q. To investigate this possibility, we sequenced 4-5 individual cDNA clones from 13 cases in which one allele of GRAF was deleted. We found point mutations within the GAP domain of the second GRAF allele in one patient. In two additional patients we found an insertion of 52 or 74 bp within the GRAF cDNA that generates a reading frame shift followed by a premature stop codon. GRAF maps outside the previously defined commonly deleted 5q31 region. Nevertheless, inactivation of both alleles in at least some cases suggests that deletions and mutations of the GRAF gene may be instrumental in the development and progression of hematopoeitic disorders with a del(5q).
Project description:Promoter hypermethylation-mediated inactivation of ID4 plays a crucial role in the development of solid tumours. This study aimed to investigate ID4 methylation and its clinical relevance in myeloid malignancies. ID4 hypermethylation was associated with higher IPSS scores, but was not an independent prognostic biomarker affecting overall survival (OS) in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). However, ID4 hypermethylation correlated with shorter OS and leukaemia-free survival (LFS) time and acted as an independent risk factor affecting OS in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Moreover, ID4 methylation was significantly decreased in the follow-up paired AML patients who achieved complete remission (CR) after induction therapy. Importantly, ID4 methylation was increased during MDS progression to AML and chronic phase (CP) progression to blast crisis (BC) in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Epigenetic studies showed that ID4 methylation might be one of the mechanisms silencing ID4 expression in myeloid leukaemia. Functional studies in vitro showed that restoration of ID4 expression could inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis in both K562 and HL60 cells. These findings indicate that ID4 acts as a tumour suppressor in myeloid malignancies, and ID4 methylation is a potential biomarker in predicting disease progression and treatment outcome.
Project description:Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a heterogeneous group of clonal hematopoietic disorders. MDS is frequently associated with deletions on chromosome 5q as well as aberrant DNA methylation patterns including hypermethylation of key tumor suppressors. We have previously shown that hypermethylation and silencing of the non-coding RNA VTRNA2-1 are correlated with poor outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia patients. In this study, we find that VTRNA1-2 and VTRNA1-3, both located on chromosome 5q, can be regulated and silenced by promoter DNA methylation, and that the hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine causes reactivation these genes. In normal hematopoiesis, we find that vault RNAs (vtRNAs) show differential methylation between various hematopoietic cell populations, indicating that allele-specific methylation events may occur during hematopoiesis. In addition, we show that VTRNA1-3 promoter hypermethylation is frequent in lower risk MDS patients and is associated with a decreased overall survival.
Project description:The role of EZH2 in cancer is complex and may vary depending on cancer type or stage. We examined the effect of altered EZH2 levels on H3K27 methylation, HOX gene expression, and malignant phenotype in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) cell lines and an in vivo xenograft model. We also studied links between EZH2 expression and prognosis in MDS patients. Patients with high-grade MDS exhibited lower levels of EZH2 expression than those with low-grade MDS. Low EZH2 expression was associated with high percentages of blasts, shorter survival, and increased transformation of MDS into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). MDS patients frequently had reductions in EZH2 copy number. EZH2 knockdown increased tumor growth capacity and reduced H3K27me3 levels in both MDS-derived leukemia cells and in a xenograft model. H3K27me3 levels were reduced and HOX gene cluster expression was increased in MDS patients. EZH2 knockdown also increased HOX gene cluster expression by reducing H3K27me3, and H3K27 demethylating agents increased HOX gene cluster expression in MDS-derived cell lines. These findings suggest genomic loss of EZH2 contributes to overexpression of the HOX gene clusters in MDS through epigenetic modifications.
Project description:Acute leukaemia or advanced myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS ? 5% blasts) in Fanconi anaemia (FA) patients is associated with a poor prognosis. We report 21 FA patients with acute leukaemia or advanced MDS who underwent haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) at the University of Minnesota between 1988 and 2011. Six patients had biallelic BRCA2 mutations. Eight patients received pre-transplant cytoreduction, with 3 achieving complete remission. HCT donor source included human leucocyte antigen-matched sibling (n = 2) or alternative donors (n = 19). Neutrophil engraftment was 95% for the entire cohort, and the incidence of acute graft-versus-host disease was 19%. 5-year overall survival (OS) was 33%, with a relapse rate of 24%, with similar OS in patients with biallelic BRCA2 mutations. Our study supports the use of HCT in the treatment of FA patients with acute leukaemia or advanced MDS, however, the role of chemotherapy prior to HCT remains unclear for this population. FA patients with biallelic BRCA2 are unique and may benefit from higher dose chemotherapy relative to other complementation groups.