Gene expression of ASNS, LGMN and CTSB is elevated in a subgroup of childhood BCP-ALL with PAX5 deletion.
ABSTRACT: Resistance to L-asparaginase (L-asp) is a major contributor to poor treatment outcomes of several subtypes of childhood B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL). Asparagine synthetase (ASNS), legumain (LGMN) and cathepsin B (CTSB) serve a key role in L-asp resistance. The association between genetic subtypes of BCP-ALL and the expression of ASNS, LGMN and CTSB may elucidate the mechanisms of treatment failure. Bone marrow samples of 52 children newly diagnosed with BCP-ALL were screened for major genetic abnormalities and ASNS, LGMN and CTSB gene expression levels. The cohort was further divided into groups corresponding to the key genetic aberrations occurring in BCP-ALL: Breakpoint cluster region and Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1 fusion; hyperdiploidy, hypodiploidy, ETS variant 6 and runt-related transcription factor 1 fusion and other BCP-ALL with no primary genetic aberration identified. A subgroup analysis based on the differences in copy number variations demonstrated a significant increase of ASNS, LGMN and CTSB median expression in other BCP-ALL cases with paired box 5 (PAX5) deletion (P=0.0117; P=0.0036; P<0.0001, respectively) compared with those with wild-type PAX5. Patients with high ASNS expression exhibited longer relapse-free survival (RFS) compared with those with low ASNS levels (P=0.0315; HR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04-0.86); the 5-year RFS for patients in the high ASNS expression group was 90.15% (95% CI, 87.90-92.40%). Despite the impact on ASNS, LGMN and CTSB expression, PAX5 deletion did not influence RFS in the other BCP-ALL group (P=0.6839). Therefore, the results of the present study revealed high levels of ASNS, LGMN and CTSB expression in the other BCP-ALL group with concomitant PAX5 deletion and no subsequent deterioration in 5-year RFS. High ASNS expression level, as a single factor, was strongly associated with an improved outcome.
Project description:Karyotype is an important prognostic factor in childhood B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL), but the underlying pharmacogenomics remain unknown. Asparaginase is an integral component in current chemotherapy for childhood BCP-ALL. Asparaginase therapy depletes serum asparagine. Normal hematopoietic cells can produce asparagine by asparagine synthetase (ASNS) activity, but ALL cells are unable to synthesize adequate amounts of asparagine. The ASNS gene has a typical CpG island in its promoter. Thus, methylation of the ASNS CpG island could be one of the epigenetic mechanisms for ASNS gene silencing in BCP-ALL. To gain deep insights into the pharmacogenomics of asparaginase therapy, we investigated the association of ASNS methylation status with asparaginase sensitivity. The ASNS CpG island is largely unmethylated in normal hematopoietic cells, but it is allele-specifically methylated in BCP-ALL cells. The ASNS gene is located at 7q21, an evolutionally conserved imprinted gene cluster. ASNS methylation in childhood BCP-ALL is associated with an aberrant methylation of the imprinted gene cluster at 7q21. Aberrant methylation of mouse Asns and a syntenic imprinted gene cluster is also confirmed in leukemic spleen samples from ETV6-RUNX1 knockin mice. In 3 childhood BCP-ALL cohorts, ASNS is highly methylated in BCP-ALL patients with favorable karyotypes but is mostly unmethylated in BCP-ALL patients with poor prognostic karyotypes. Higher ASNS methylation is associated with higher L-asparaginase sensitivity in BCP-ALL through lower ASNS gene and protein expression levels. These observations demonstrate that silencing of the ASNS gene as a result of aberrant imprinting is a pharmacogenetic mechanism for the leukemia-specific activity of asparaginase therapy in BCP-ALL.
Project description:L-Asparaginase (L-Asp) is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of L-asparagine to L-aspartic acid, and its depletion induces leukemic cell death. L-Asp is an important component of treatment regimens for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Sensitivity to L-Asp is due to the absence of L-Asparagine synthetase (ASNS), the enzyme that catalyzes the biosynthesis of L-asparagine. ASNS gene is located on 7q21.3, and its increased expression in ALLs correlates with L-Asp resistance. Chromosome 7 monosomy (-7) is a recurrent aberration in myeloid disorders, particularly in adverse-risk Acute Myeloid Leukemias (AMLs) and therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN), that leads to a significant downregulation of the deleted genes, including ASNS. Therefore, we hypothesized that -7 could affect L-Asp sensitivity in AMLs. By treating AML cell lines and primary cells from pediatric patients with L-Asp, we showed that -7 cells were more sensitive than AML cells without -7. Importantly, both ASNS gene and protein expression were significantly lower in -7 AML cell lines, suggesting that haploinsufficiency of ASNS might induce sensitivity to L-Asp in AMLs. To prove the role of ASNS haploinsufficiency in sensitizing AML cells to L-Asp treatment, we performed siRNA-knockdown of ASNS in AML cell lines lacking -7, and observed that ASNS knockdown significantly increased L-Asp cytotoxicity. In conclusion, -7 AMLs showed high sensitivity to L-Asp treatment due to low expression of ASNS. Thus, L-Asp may be considered for treatment of AML pediatric patients carrying -7, in order to improve the outcome of adverse-risk AMLs and t-MN patients.
Project description:We recently used RNA interference to show that a negative correlation of L-asparaginase (L-ASP) chemotherapeutic activity with asparagine synthetase (ASNS) expression in the ovarian subset of the NCI-60 cell line panel is causal. To determine whether that relationship would be sustained in a larger, more diverse set of ovarian cell lines, we have now measured ASNS mRNA expression using microarrays and a branched-DNA RNA assay, ASNS protein expression using an electrochemiluminescent immunoassay, and L-ASP activity using an MTS assay on 19 human ovarian cancer cell lines. Contrary to our previous findings, L-ASP activity was only weakly correlated with ASNS mRNA expression; Pearson's correlation coefficients were r = -0.21 for microarray data and r = -0.39 for the branched-DNA RNA assay, with just the latter being marginally statistically significant (P = 0.047, one-tailed). ASNS protein expression measured by liquid-phase immunoassay exhibited a much stronger correlation (r = -0.65; P = 0.0014, one-tailed). We conclude that ASNS protein expression measured by immunoassay is a strong univariate predictor of L-ASP activity in ovarian cancer cell lines. These findings provide rationale for evaluation of ASNS protein expression as a predictive biomarker of clinical L-ASP activity in ovarian cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) PAX5, a transcription factor pivotal for B-cell commitment and maintenance, is frequently affected by genetic alterations. In 2-3 % of the cases PAX5 rearrangements result in the expression of oncogenic fusion genes. The encoded chimeric proteins consist of the N-terminal PAX5 DNA-binding paired domain, which is fused to the C-terminal domains of a remarkable heterogeneous group of partner proteins. RESULTS:Employing fluorescence in situ hybridization and molecular methods PAX5-KIAA1549L was identified as novel fusion gene in a case of pediatric BCP-ALL. CONCLUSION:Our report underlines the high diversity of PAX5 fusion partners in BCP-ALL and we describe the second involvement of KIAA1549L in a genetic rearrangement in acute leukemia.
Project description:Background. Flow cytometry (FCM) identifies leukemic blasts in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in approximately 30% of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), whereas conventional cytospin preparations frequently miss such involvement. <br>Procedure. To explore biological properties of leukemic cells that migrate into central nervous system (CNS), we compared gene expression profiles of leukemic cells from 26 patients with CNS involvement and 138 patients without CNS leukemia as determined by FCM and/or cytospin preparations. Results were validated by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). <br>Results. We found the cysteine endopeptidase legumain (LGMN) that plays a role in hydrolysis of proteins and small molecules to be significantly differentially expressed between FCM+ and FCM- B-cell precursor (BCP) ALL patients. When LGMN expression was validated by qPCR it stayed differentially expressed between FCM+ and FCM- BCP-ALL patients (P=0.006), and also between FCM+ and cytospin-negative BCP-ALL patients (P=0.01). In multivariate regression analysis including sex, age and WBC, LGMN expression levels above population median were associated with an odds ratio of 9.1 for CNS involvement as determined by FCM compared with expression less than the median (95% CI, 1.26 to 65.50; P=0.03). Conclusions. The use of more sensitive methods for detecting and quantifying CNS involvement, such as FCM, may facilitate detection of markers of leukemia biology, such as LGMN, which could have therapeutical implications for future CNS-directed therapy.<br>FCM+: Patients had leukemic cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) detected by flow cytometry and no blood contamination. FCM-: Patients had no leukemic cells in the CSF detected by flow cytometry with or without blood contamination.<br>CNS1: No leukemic cells in CSF detected by cytospin examination with or without blood contamination and no other clinical signs of central nervous system (CNS) leukaemia. CNS2: CSF leukocyte count <5 x106/ÂµL with blasts on cytospin examination and no blood contamination. CNS3: CSF leukocyte count >5 x106/ÂµL with blasts on cytospin examination and no blood contamination, and/or cranial nerve palsy, and/or CNS leukaemia by neuroimaging.
Project description:L-Asparaginase (L-ASP) is a key component of therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Its mechanism of action, however, is still poorly understood, in part because of its dual asparaginase and glutaminase activities. Here, we show that L-ASP's glutaminase activity is not always required for the enzyme's anticancer effect. We first used molecular dynamics simulations of the clinically standard Escherichia coli L-ASP to predict what mutated forms could be engineered to retain activity against asparagine but not glutamine. Dynamic mapping of enzyme substrate contacts identified Q59 as a promising mutagenesis target for that purpose. Saturation mutagenesis followed by enzymatic screening identified Q59L as a variant that retains asparaginase activity but shows undetectable glutaminase activity. Unlike wild-type L-ASP, Q59L is inactive against cancer cells that express measurable asparagine synthetase (ASNS). Q59L is potently active, however, against ASNS-negative cells. Those observations indicate that the glutaminase activity of L-ASP is necessary for anticancer activity against ASNS-positive cell types but not ASNS-negative cell types. Because the clinical toxicity of L-ASP is thought to stem from its glutaminase activity, these findings suggest the hypothesis that glutaminase-negative variants of L-ASP would provide larger therapeutic indices than wild-type L-ASP for ASNS-negative cancers.
Project description:Most B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP ALL) can be classified into known major genetic subtypes, while a substantial proportion of BCP ALL remains poorly characterized in relation to its underlying genomic abnormalities. We therefore initiated a large-scale international study to reanalyze and delineate the transcriptome landscape of 1,223 BCP ALL cases using RNA sequencing. Fourteen BCP ALL gene expression subgroups (G1 to G14) were identified. Apart from extending eight previously described subgroups (G1 to G8 associated with MEF2D fusions, TCF3-PBX1 fusions, ETV6-RUNX1-positive/ETV6-RUNX1-like, DUX4 fusions, ZNF384 fusions, BCR-ABL1/Ph-like, high hyperdiploidy, and KMT2A fusions), we defined six additional gene expression subgroups: G9 was associated with both PAX5 and CRLF2 fusions; G10 and G11 with mutations in PAX5 (p.P80R) and IKZF1 (p.N159Y), respectively; G12 with IGH-CEBPE fusion and mutations in ZEB2 (p.H1038R); and G13 and G14 with TCF3/4-HLF and NUTM1 fusions, respectively. In pediatric BCP ALL, subgroups G2 to G5 and G7 (51 to 65/67 chromosomes) were associated with low-risk, G7 (with ?50 chromosomes) and G9 were intermediate-risk, whereas G1, G6, and G8 were defined as high-risk subgroups. In adult BCP ALL, G1, G2, G6, and G8 were associated with high risk, while G4, G5, and G7 had relatively favorable outcomes. This large-scale transcriptome sequence analysis of BCP ALL revealed distinct molecular subgroups that reflect discrete pathways of BCP ALL, informing disease classification and prognostic stratification. The combined results strongly advocate that RNA sequencing be introduced into the clinical diagnostic workup of BCP ALL.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The prognostic factors of skull base chordoma associated with outcomes of patients after surgery remain inadequately identified. This study was designed to identify a novel prognostic factor for patients with skull base chordoma.<h4>Method</h4>Using a proteomic technique, the tumor biomarkers that were upregulated in the rapid-recurrence group of chordoma were screened and then narrowed down by bioinformatic analysis. Finally one potential biomarker was chosen for validation by immunohistochemistry using tissue microarray (TMA). A total of 187 patients included in TMA were randomly divided into two cohorts, the training cohort included 93 patients and the validation cohort included 94 patients. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to assess the patients' survival. Univariable and multivariable Cox regression analysis were used to identify prognostic factors predicting recurrence-free survival (RFS). CCK-8 assay, clonal formation assay and transwell assay were used to test the effect of asparagine synthetase (ASNS) on the proliferation, migration and invasion in chordoma cell lines.<h4>Results</h4>Among 146 upregulated proteins, ASNS was chosen as a potential prognostic biomarker after bioinformatics analysis. The H-scores of ASNS ranged from 106.27 to 239.58 in TMA. High expression of ASNS was correlated with shorter RFS in both the training cohort (p = 0.0093) and validation cohort (p < 0.001). Knockdown of ASNS by small interfering RNA (siRNA) inhibited the growth, colony formation, migration and invasion of chordoma cells <i>in vitro</i>.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study indicates that high expression of ASNS is correlated with poor prognosis of patients with skull base chordoma. ASNS may be a useful prognostic factor for patients with skull base chordoma.
Project description:B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) is the most common cancer in children, and significant progress has been made in diagnostics and the treatment of this disease based on the subtypes of BCP-ALL. However, in a large proportion of cases (B-other), recurrent BCP-ALL-associated genomic alterations remain unidentifiable by current diagnostic procedures. In this study, we performed RNA sequencing and analyzed gene fusions, expression profiles, and mutations in diagnostic samples of 185 children with BCP-ALL. Gene expression clustering showed that a subset of B-other samples partially clusters with some of the known subgroups, particularly <i>DUX4</i>-positive. Mutation analysis coupled with gene expression profiling revealed the presence of distinctive BCP-ALL subgroups, characterized by the presence of mutations in known ALL driver genes, e.g., <i>PAX5</i> and <i>IKZF1</i>. Moreover, we identified novel fusion partners of lymphoid lineage transcriptional factors <i>ETV6</i>, <i>IKZF1</i> and <i>PAX5</i>. In addition, we report on low blast count detection thresholds and show that the use of EDTA tubes for sample collection does not have adverse effects on sequencing and downstream analysis. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the applicability of whole-transcriptome sequencing for personalized diagnostics in pediatric ALL, including tentative classification of the B-other cases that are difficult to diagnose using conventional methods.
Project description:PAX5 is a member of the paired box (PAX) family of transcription factors involved in B-cell development. PAX5P80R has recently been described as a distinct genetic B-cell precursor (BCP) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) subtype with a favorable prognosis in adults. In contrast, an unfavorable outcome has been observed in children. Our aim was to determine the frequency of PAX5P80R in childhood BCP-ALL treated according to the Associazione Italiana Ematologia ed Oncologia Pediatrica-Berlin-Frankfurt-Muenster (AIEOP-BFM) ALL 2000 protocol and to evaluate its clinical significance within this study cohort. The analyses included 1237 patients with ALL treated in the AIEOP-BFM ALL 2000 trial with complete information for copy number variations (CNVs) of IKZF1, PAX5, ETV6, RB1, BTG1, EBF1, CDKN2A, CDKN2B, and ERG. A customized TaqMan genotyping assay was used to screen for PAX5P80R . Sanger sequencing was used to confirm PAX5P80R -positive results as well as to screen for second variants in PAX5. Agilent CGH?+?SNP arrays (e-Array design 85?320; Agilent Technologies) were performed in PAX5P80R -positive patients to verify additional CNVs. Almost 2% (20/1028) of our BCP-ALL cohort were PAX5P80R -positive. White blood cell counts higher than 50?000/?l as well as male sex were significantly (P < .05) associated with PAX5P80R . Most of the PAX5P80R -positive cases were 10?years of age or older. PAX5P80R -positive samples were enriched for deletions affecting PAX5, IKZF1, CDKN2A, and CDKN2B. Compared to PAX5P80R -wildtype BCP-ALL, PAX5P80R -positive patients showed a significantly reduced 5-year overall survival (P = .042). Further studies should evaluate the interaction of PAX5P80R with other genetic aberrations to further stratify intermediate risk pediatric BCP-ALL.