Publications by authors named "Julie M Gastier-Foster"

113 Publications

Revised Neuroblastoma Risk Classification System: A Report From the Children's Oncology Group.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Jul 28:JCO2100278. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Purpose: Treatment planning for children with neuroblastoma requires accurate assessment of prognosis. The most recent Children's Oncology Group (COG) risk classification system used tumor stage as defined by the International Neuroblastoma Staging System. Here, we validate a revised classifier using the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group Staging System (INRGSS) and incorporate segmental chromosome aberrations (SCA) as an additional genomic biomarker.

Methods: Newly diagnosed patients enrolled on the COG neuroblastoma biology study ANBL00B1 between 2007 and 2017 with known age, International Neuroblastoma Staging System, and INRGSS stage were identified (N = 4,832). Tumor status, ploidy, SCA status (1p and 11q), and International Neuroblastoma Pathology Classification histology were determined centrally. Survival analyses were performed for combinations of prognostic factors used in COG risk classification according to the prior version 1, and to validate a revised algorithm (version 2).

Results: Most patients with locoregional tumors had excellent outcomes except for those with image-defined risk factors (INRGSS L2) with amplification (5-year event-free survival and overall survival: 76.3% ± 5.8% and 79.9% ± 5.5%, respectively) or patients age ≥ 18 months with L2 nonamplified tumors with unfavorable International Neuroblastoma Pathology Classification histology (72.7% ± 5.4% and 82.4% ± 4.6%), which includes the majority of L2 patients with SCA. For patients with stage M (metastatic) and MS (metastatic, special) disease, genomic biomarkers affected risk group assignment for those < 12 months () or 12-18 months (, histology, ploidy, and SCA) of age. In a retrospective analysis of patient outcome, the 5-year event-free survival and overall survival using COG version 1 were low-risk: 89.4% ± 1.1% and 97.9% ± 0.5%; intermediate-risk: 86.1% ± 1.3% and 94.9% ± 0.8%; high-risk: 50.8% ± 1.4% and 61.9% ± 1.3%; and using COG version 2 were low-risk: 90.7% ± 1.1% and 97.9% ± 0.5%; intermediate-risk: 85.1% ± 1.4% and 95.8% ± 0.8%; high-risk: 51.2% ± 1.4% and 62.5% ± 1.3%, respectively.

Conclusion: A revised 2021 COG neuroblastoma risk classifier (version 2) that uses the INRGSS and incorporates SCAs has been adopted to prospectively define COG clinical trial eligibility and treatment assignment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.00278DOI Listing
July 2021

Germline RUNX1 variation and predisposition to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

J Clin Invest 2021 Jun 24. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, United States of America.

Genetic alterations in the RUNX1 gene are associated with benign and malignant blood disorders, particularly of megakaryocyte and myeloid lineages. The role of RUNX1 in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is less clear, particularly how germline genetic variation influences the predisposition to this type of leukemia. Sequencing 4,836 children with B-ALL and 1,354 cases of T-ALL, we identified 31 and 18 germline RUNX1 variants, respectively. RUNX1 variants in B-ALL consistently showed minimal damaging effects. By contrast, 6 T-ALL-related variants result in drastic loss of RUNX1 activity as a transcription activator in vitro. Ectopic expression of dominant-negative RUNX1 variants in human CD34+ cells repressed differentiation into erythroid, megakaryocytes, and T cells, while promoting myeloid cell development. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing of T-ALL models showed distinctive patterns of RUNX1 binding by variant proteins. Further whole genome sequencing identified JAK3 mutation as the most frequent somatic genomic abnormality in T-ALL with germline RUNX1 variants. Co-introduction of RUNX1 variant and JAK3 mutation in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in mice gave rise to T-ALL with early T-cell precursor phenotype. Taken together, these results indicated that RUNX1 is an important predisposition gene for T-ALL and pointed to novel biology of RUNX1-mediated leukemogenesis in the lymphoid lineages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI147898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8409579PMC
June 2021

Radiation-related genomic profile of papillary thyroid carcinoma after the Chernobyl accident.

Science 2021 05 22;372(6543). Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident increased papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) incidence in surrounding regions, particularly for radioactive iodine (I)-exposed children. We analyzed genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic characteristics of 440 PTCs from Ukraine (from 359 individuals with estimated childhood I exposure and 81 unexposed children born after 1986). PTCs displayed radiation dose-dependent enrichment of fusion drivers, nearly all in the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, and increases in small deletions and simple/balanced structural variants that were clonal and bore hallmarks of nonhomologous end-joining repair. Radiation-related genomic alterations were more pronounced for individuals who were younger at exposure. Transcriptomic and epigenomic features were strongly associated with driver events but not radiation dose. Our results point to DNA double-strand breaks as early carcinogenic events that subsequently enable PTC growth after environmental radiation exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abg2538DOI Listing
May 2021

Myeloablative Busulfan/Melphalan Consolidation following Induction Chemotherapy for Patients with Newly Diagnosed High-Risk Neuroblastoma: Children's Oncology Group Trial ANBL12P1.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 06 6;27(6):490.e1-490.e8. Epub 2021 Mar 6.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Consolidation using high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is an important component of frontline therapy for children with high-risk neuroblastoma. The optimal preparative regimen is uncertain, although recent data support a role for busulfan/melphalan (BuMel). The Children's Oncology Group (COG) conducted a trial (ANBL12P1) to assess the tolerability and feasibility of BuMel ASCT following a COG induction. Patients with newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma who did not progress during induction therapy and met organ function requirements received i.v. busulfan (every 24 hours for 4 doses based on age and weight) and melphalan (140 mg/m for 1 dose), followed by ASCT. Busulfan doses were adjusted to achieve to an average daily area under the curve (AUC) <5500 µM × minute. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of severe sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS) or grade ≥4 pulmonary complications within the first 28 days after completion of consolidation therapy. A total of 146 eligible patients were enrolled, of whom 101 underwent BuMel ASCT. The overall incidence of protocol-defined unacceptable toxicity during consolidation was 6.9% (7 of 101). Six patients (5.9%) developed SOS, with 4 (4%) meeting the criteria for severe SOS. An additional 3 patients (3%) experienced grade ≥4 pulmonary complications during consolidation. The median busulfan AUC was 4558 µM × min (range, 3462 to 5189 µM × minute) for patients with SOS and 3512 µM × min (2360 to 5455 µM × minute) (P = .0142). No patients died during consolidation. From the time of study enrollment, the mean 3-year event-free survival for all 146 eligible patients was 55.6 ± 4.2%, and the mean 3-year overall survival was 74.5 ± 3.7%. The BuMel myeloablative regimen following COG induction was well tolerated, with acceptable pulmonary and hepatic toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.03.006DOI Listing
June 2021

Mutational and functional genetics mapping of chemotherapy resistance mechanisms in relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Nat Cancer 2020 Nov 19;1(11):1113-1127. Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Institute for Cancer Genetics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Multi-agent combination chemotherapy can be curative in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Still, patients with primary refractory disease or with relapsed leukemia have a very poor prognosis. Here we integrate an in-depth dissection of the mutational landscape across diagnostic and relapsed pediatric and adult ALL samples with genome-wide CRISPR screen analysis of gene-drug interactions across seven ALL chemotherapy drugs. By combining these analyses, we uncover diagnostic and relapse-specific mutational mechanisms as well as genetic drivers of chemoresistance. Functionally, our data identifies common and drug-specific pathways modulating chemotherapy response and underscores the effect of drug combinations in restricting the selection of resistance-driving genetic lesions. In addition, by identifying actionable targets for the reversal of chemotherapy resistance, these analyses open novel therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of relapse and refractory disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s43018-020-00124-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8011577PMC
November 2020

Favorable Trisomies and Predict Cure in Low-Risk B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Results From Children's Oncology Group Trial AALL0331.

J Clin Oncol 2021 May 19;39(14):1540-1552. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Department of Pediatrics, UT Southwestern, Simmons Cancer Center, Dallas, TX.

Purpose: Children's Oncology Group (COG) AALL0331 tested whether pegaspargase intensification on a low-intensity chemotherapy backbone would improve the continuous complete remission (CCR) rate in a low-risk subset of children with standard-risk B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Methods: AALL0331 enrolled 5,377 patients with National Cancer Institute standard-risk B-ALL (age 1-9 years, WBC < 50,000/μL) between 2005 and 2010. Following a common three-drug induction, a cohort of 1,857 eligible patients participated in the low-risk ALL random assignment. Low-risk criteria included no extramedullary disease, < 5% marrow blasts by day 15, end-induction marrow minimal residual disease < 0.1%, and favorable cytogenetics ( fusion or simultaneous trisomies of chromosomes 4, 10, and 17). Random assignment was to standard COG low-intensity therapy (including two pegaspargase doses, one each during induction and delayed intensification) with or without four additional pegaspargase doses at 3-week intervals during consolidation and interim maintenance. The study was powered to detect a 4% improvement in 6-year CCR rate from 92% to 96%.

Results: The 6-year CCR and overall survival (OS) rates for the entire low-risk cohort were 94.7% ± 0.6% and 98.7% ± 0.3%, respectively. The CCR rates were similar between arms (intensified pegaspargase 95.3% ± 0.8% standard 94.0% ± 0.8%; = .13) with no difference in OS (98.1% ± 0.5% 99.2% ± 0.3%; = .99). Compared to a subset of standard-risk study patients given identical therapy who had the same early response characteristics but did not have favorable or unfavorable cytogenetics, outcomes were significantly superior for low-risk patients (CCR hazard ratio 1.95; = .0004; OS hazard ratio 5.42; < .0001).

Conclusion: Standard COG therapy without intensified pegaspargase, which can easily be given as an outpatient with limited toxicity, cures nearly all children with B-ALL identified as low-risk by clinical, early response, and favorable cytogenetic criteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8274747PMC
May 2021

Stage 4S Neuroblastoma: Molecular, Histologic, and Immunohistochemical Characteristics and Presence of 2 Distinct Patterns of MYCN Protein Overexpression-A Report From the Children's Oncology Group.

Am J Surg Pathol 2021 08;45(8):1075-1081

Departments of Pathology.

Stage 4S neuroblastoma (4SNB) is associated with spontaneous tumor regression and an excellent prognosis. However, a small group of the patients have a poor prognosis. One hundred eighty-five stage 4SNB cases filed at the Children's Oncology Group Neuroblastoma Pathology Reference Laboratory were studied. MYCN oncogene status [non-amplified (NA) vs. Amplified (A)] determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization, MYC-family (MYCN/MYC) protein expression [no-overexpression(-)/(+/-) vs. overexpression(+)] by immunohistochemistry and histopathology by International Neuroblastoma Pathology Classification [Favorable Histology (FH) vs. Unfavorable Histology (UH)] with particular attention to nucleolar hypertrophy [NH(-) vs. (+)] were assessed with patient survival. One hundred forty-seven (79.5%) tumors were MYCN-NA, FH, MYC-family protein(-)/(+/-), and NH(-) with a good prognosis [88.5±3.1% 3-y event-free survival (EFS); 94.1±2.3% 3-y overall survival (OS)]. Among MYCN-NA tumors, 11 demonstrated MYCN protein(+) with a moderate and uniform (M/U) staining pattern: they were FH(10/11), NH(-), 1 showed MYC protein(+) simultaneously, and all patients are alive. Also found were 5 MYC protein(+) and MYCN(-)/(+/-) tumors; they were FH without NH (4/5), and all patients are alive. Among MYCN-A tumors, 18 had MYCN protein(+) with a strong and heterogeneous (S/H) staining pattern, 9 had UH (44.4±23.4% EFS/OS) and 9 had FH (68.6±19.2% EFS/OS), and 15 showed NH(+). Two tumors had MYCN protein(-)/(+/-) despite MYCN-A; both were FH and NH(-), and 1 patient died. S/H staining pattern of MYCN protein overexpression by immunohistochemistry was associated with MYCN amplification, NH(+) and a poor prognosis. In contrast, the M/U staining pattern was associated with MYCN nonamplification and NH(-), and had no adverse prognostic effects for the stage 4SNB patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAS.0000000000001647DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8217390PMC
August 2021

Association of GATA3 Polymorphisms With Minimal Residual Disease and Relapse Risk in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 04;113(4):408-417

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Background: Minimal residual disease (MRD) after induction therapy is one of the strongest prognostic factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and MRD-directed treatment intensification improves survival. Little is known about the effects of inherited genetic variants on interpatient variability in MRD.

Methods: A genome-wide association study was performed on 2597 children on the Children's Oncology Group AALL0232 trial for high-risk B-cell ALL. Association between genotype and end-of-induction MRD levels was evaluated for 863 370 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), adjusting for genetic ancestry and treatment strata. Top variants were further evaluated in a validation cohort of 491 patients from the Children's Oncology Group P9905 and 6 ALL trials. The independent prognostic value of single nucleotide polymorphisms was determined in multivariable analyses. All statistical tests were 2-sided.

Results: In the discovery genome-wide association study, we identified a genome-wide significant association at the GATA3 locus (rs3824662, odds ratio [OR] = 1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.35 to 1.84; P = 1.15 × 10-8 as a dichotomous variable). This association was replicated in the validation cohort (P = .003, MRD as a dichotomous variable). The rs3824662 risk allele independently predicted ALL relapse after adjusting for age, white blood cell count, and leukemia DNA index (P = .04 and .007 in the discovery and validation cohort, respectively) and remained prognostic when the analyses were restricted to MRD-negative patients (P = .04 and .03 for the discovery and validation cohorts, respectively).

Conclusion: Inherited GATA3 variant rs3824662 strongly influences ALL response to remission induction therapy and is associated with relapse. This work highlights the potential utility of germline variants in upfront risk stratification in ALL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa138DOI Listing
April 2021

Children's Oncology Group AALL0434: A Phase III Randomized Clinical Trial Testing Nelarabine in Newly Diagnosed T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

J Clin Oncol 2020 10 19;38(28):3282-3293. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Department of Pediatrics and The Center for Childhood Cancer Research, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Purpose: Nelarabine is effective in inducing remission in patients with relapsed and refractory T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) but has not been fully evaluated in those with newly diagnosed disease.

Patients And Methods: From 2007 to 2014, Children's Oncology Group trial AALL0434 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00408005) enrolled 1,562 evaluable patients with T-ALL age 1-31 years who received the augmented Berlin-Frankfurt-Muenster (ABFM) regimen with a 2 × 2 pseudo-factorial randomization to receive escalating-dose methotrexate (MTX) without leucovorin rescue plus pegaspargase (C-MTX) or high-dose MTX (HDMTX) with leucovorin rescue. Intermediate- and high-risk patients were also randomly assigned after induction to receive or not receive six 5-day courses of nelarabine that was incorporated into ABFM. Patients who experienced induction failure were nonrandomly assigned to HDMTX plus nelarabine. Patients with overt CNS disease (CNS3; ≥ 5 WBCs/μL with blasts) received HDMTX and were randomly assigned to receive or not receive nelarabine. All patients, except those with low-risk disease, received cranial irradiation.

Results: The 5-year event-free and overall survival rates were 83.7% ± 1.1% and 89.5% ± 0.9%, respectively. The 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) rates for patients with T-ALL randomly assigned to nelarabine (n = 323) and no nelarabine (n = 336) were 88.2% ± 2.4% and 82.1% ± 2.7%, respectively ( = .029). Differences between DFS in a four-arm comparison were significant ( = .01), with no interactions between the MTX and nelarabine randomizations ( = .41). Patients treated with the best-performing arm, C-MTX plus nelarabine, had a 5-year DFS of 91% (n = 147). Patients who received nelarabine had significantly fewer isolated and combined CNS relapses compared with patients who did not receive nelarabine (1.3% ± 0.63% 6.9% ± 1.4%, respectively; = .0001). Toxicities, including neurotoxicity, were acceptable and similar between all four arms.

Conclusion: The addition of nelarabine to ABFM therapy improved DFS for children and young adults with newly diagnosed T-ALL without increased toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.00256DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7526719PMC
October 2020

Analysis of Ugandan cervical carcinomas identifies human papillomavirus clade-specific epigenome and transcriptome landscapes.

Nat Genet 2020 08 3;52(8):800-810. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Office of Cancer Genomics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer affecting sub-Saharan African women and is prevalent among HIV-positive (HIV) individuals. No comprehensive profiling of cancer genomes, transcriptomes or epigenomes has been performed in this population thus far. We characterized 118 tumors from Ugandan patients, of whom 72 were HIV, and performed extended mutation analysis on an additional 89 tumors. We detected human papillomavirus (HPV)-clade-specific differences in tumor DNA methylation, promoter- and enhancer-associated histone marks, gene expression and pathway dysregulation. Changes in histone modification at HPV integration events were correlated with upregulation of nearby genes and endogenous retroviruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0673-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7498180PMC
August 2020

Genetic Characterization of Pediatric Sarcomas by Targeted RNA Sequencing.

J Mol Diagn 2020 10 1;22(10):1238-1245. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Institute for Genomic Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Department of Pathology, Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Electronic address:

Somatic variants, primarily fusion genes and single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) or insertions/deletions (indels), are prevalent among sarcomas. In many cases, accurate diagnosis of these tumors incorporates genetic findings that may also carry prognostic or therapeutic significance. Using the anchored multiplex PCR-based FusionPlex system, a custom RNA sequencing panel was developed that simultaneously detects fusion genes, SNVs, and indels in 112 genes found to be recurrently mutated in solid tumors. Using this assay, a retrospective analysis was conducted to identify somatic variants that may have assisted with classifying a cohort of 90 previously uncharacterized primarily pediatric sarcoma specimens. In total, somatic variants were identified in 45.5% (41/90) of the samples tested, including 22 cases with fusion genes and 19 cases with SNVs or indels. In addition, two of these findings represent novel alterations: a WHSC1L1/NCOA2 fusion and a novel in-frame deletion in the NRAS gene (NM_002524: c.174_176delAGC p.Ala59del). These sequencing results, taken in context with the available clinical data, indicate a potential change in the initial diagnosis, prognosis, or management in 27 of the 90 cases. This study presents a custom RNA sequencing assay that detects fusion genes and SNVs in tandem and has the ability to identify novel fusion partners. These features highlight the advantages associated with utilizing anchored multiplex PCR technology for the rapid and highly sensitive detection of somatic variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2020.07.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7538815PMC
October 2020

Molecular basis of ETV6-mediated predisposition to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Blood 2021 01;137(3):364-373

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and.

There is growing evidence supporting an inherited basis for susceptibility to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children. In particular, we and others reported recurrent germline ETV6 variants linked to ALL risk, which collectively represent a novel leukemia predisposition syndrome. To understand the influence of ETV6 variation on ALL pathogenesis, we comprehensively characterized a cohort of 32 childhood leukemia cases arising from this rare syndrome. Of 34 nonsynonymous germline ETV6 variants in ALL, we identified 22 variants with impaired transcription repressor activity, loss of DNA binding, and altered nuclear localization. Missense variants retained dimerization with wild-type ETV6 with potentially dominant-negative effects. Whole-transcriptome and whole-genome sequencing of this cohort of leukemia cases revealed a profound influence of germline ETV6 variants on leukemia transcriptional landscape, with distinct ALL subsets invoking unique patterns of somatic cooperating mutations. 70% of ALL cases with damaging germline ETV6 variants exhibited hyperdiploid karyotype with characteristic recurrent mutations in NRAS, KRAS, and PTPN11. In contrast, the remaining 30% cases had a diploid leukemia genome and an exceedingly high frequency of somatic copy-number loss of PAX5 and ETV6, with a gene expression pattern that strikingly mirrored that of ALL with somatic ETV6-RUNX1 fusion. Two ETV6 germline variants gave rise to both acute myeloid leukemia and ALL, with lineage-specific genetic lesions in the leukemia genomes. ETV6 variants compromise its tumor suppressor activity in vitro with specific molecular targets identified by assay for transposase-accessible chromatin sequencing profiling. ETV6-mediated ALL predisposition exemplifies the intricate interactions between inherited and acquired genomic variations in leukemia pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006164DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7819760PMC
January 2021

Association of heterogeneous MYCN amplification with clinical features, biological characteristics and outcomes in neuroblastoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Eur J Cancer 2020 07 31;133:112-119. Epub 2020 May 31.

Dana-Farber / Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:

Purpose: MYCN amplification (MNA) is associated with poor outcomes in neuroblastoma. Less is known about heterogeneous MNA within a tumour. We compared clinical characteristics, biologic features and clinical outcomes of patients with heterogeneous MNA to patients with either homogeneous MNA or MYCN wild-type tumours.

Patients And Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we categorized patients as having tumours with MYCN wild-type, homogeneous MNA (>20% amplified tumour cells) or heterogeneous MNA (≤20% amplified tumour cells). We used chi-squared or Fisher's exact tests to compare features between groups. We used log-rank tests and Cox models to compare event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) between groups.

Results: MYCN status and heterogeneity status (if amplified) could be ascertained in diagnostic tumour samples from 5975 patients, including 57 (1%) with heterogeneous MNA, 981 (16.4%) with homogeneous MNA, and 4937 (82.6%) with MYCN wild-type tumours. Multiple clinical and biological features differed between patients with heterogeneous vs. homogeneous MNA, including enrichment for thoracic primary sites and paucity of 1p loss of heterozygosity with heterogeneous MNA (p < 0.0001). Importantly, EFS and OS were not significantly different between patients with heterogeneous vs. homogeneous MNA. Further, EFS and OS for patients with heterogeneous MNA were significantly inferior to patients with wild-type MYCN.

Conclusion: Although neuroblastomas with heterogeneous MNA demonstrate significantly different biological and clinical patterns compared with homogeneous MNA, prognosis is similar between the two groups. These results support current practice that treats patients with heterogeneous MNA similarly to patients with homogeneous MNA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.04.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295664PMC
July 2020

Retrospective clinical trial experimentally validates glioblastoma genome-wide pattern of DNA copy-number alterations predictor of survival.

APL Bioeng 2020 Jun 15;4(2):026106. Epub 2020 May 15.

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.

Modeling of genomic profiles from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) by using recently developed mathematical frameworks has associated a genome-wide pattern of DNA copy-number alterations with a shorter, roughly one-year, median survival time in glioblastoma (GBM) patients. Here, to experimentally test this relationship, we whole-genome sequenced DNA from tumor samples of patients. We show that the patients represent the U.S. adult GBM population in terms of most normal and disease phenotypes. Intratumor heterogeneity affects and profiling technology and reference human genome specifics affect <1% of the classifications of the tumors by the pattern, where experimental batch effects normally reduce the reproducibility, i.e., precision, of classifications based upon between one to a few hundred genomic loci by >30%. With a 2.25-year Kaplan-Meier median survival difference, a 3.5 univariate Cox hazard ratio, and a 0.78 concordance index, i.e., accuracy, the pattern predicts survival better than and independent of age at diagnosis, which has been the best indicator since 1950. The prognostic classification by the pattern may, therefore, help to manage GBM pseudoprogression. The diagnostic classification may help drugs progress to regulatory approval. The therapeutic predictions, of previously unrecognized targets that are correlated with survival, may lead to new drugs. Other methods missed this relationship in the roughly 3B-nucleotide genomes of the small, order of magnitude of 100, patient cohorts, e.g., from TCGA. Previous attempts to associate GBM genotypes with patient phenotypes were unsuccessful. This is a proof of principle that the frameworks are uniquely suitable for discovering clinically actionable genotype-phenotype relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.5142559DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7229984PMC
June 2020

Frequency of Pathogenic Germline Variants in Cancer-Susceptibility Genes in Patients With Osteosarcoma.

JAMA Oncol 2020 05;6(5):724-734

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, Stanmore, Middlesex, United Kingdom.

Importance: Osteosarcoma, the most common malignant bone tumor in children and adolescents, occurs in a high number of cancer predisposition syndromes that are defined by highly penetrant germline mutations. The germline genetic susceptibility to osteosarcoma outside of familial cancer syndromes remains unclear.

Objective: To investigate the germline genetic architecture of 1244 patients with osteosarcoma.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Whole-exome sequencing (n = 1104) or targeted sequencing (n = 140) of the DNA of 1244 patients with osteosarcoma from 10 participating international centers or studies was conducted from April 21, 2014, to September 1, 2017. The results were compared with the DNA of 1062 individuals without cancer assembled internally from 4 participating studies who underwent comparable whole-exome sequencing and 27 173 individuals of non-Finnish European ancestry who were identified through the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) database. In the analysis, 238 high-interest cancer-susceptibility genes were assessed followed by testing of the mutational burden across 736 additional candidate genes. Principal component analyses were used to identify 732 European patients with osteosarcoma and 994 European individuals without cancer, with outliers removed for patient-control group comparisons. Patients were subsequently compared with individuals in the ExAC group. All data were analyzed from June 1, 2017, to July 1, 2019.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The frequency of rare pathogenic or likely pathogenic genetic variants.

Results: Among 1244 patients with osteosarcoma (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 16 [8.9] years [range, 2-80 years]; 684 patients [55.0%] were male), an analysis restricted to individuals with European ancestry indicated a significantly higher pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant burden in 238 high-interest cancer-susceptibility genes among patients with osteosarcoma compared with the control group (732 vs 994, respectively; P = 1.3 × 10-18). A pathogenic or likely pathogenic cancer-susceptibility gene variant was identified in 281 of 1004 patients with osteosarcoma (28.0%), of which nearly three-quarters had a variant that mapped to an autosomal-dominant gene or a known osteosarcoma-associated cancer predisposition syndrome gene. The frequency of a pathogenic or likely pathogenic cancer-susceptibility gene variant was 128 of 1062 individuals (12.1%) in the control group and 2527 of 27 173 individuals (9.3%) in the ExAC group. A higher than expected frequency of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was observed in genes not previously linked to osteosarcoma (eg, CDKN2A, MEN1, VHL, POT1, APC, MSH2, and ATRX) and in the Li-Fraumeni syndrome-associated gene, TP53.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, approximately one-fourth of patients with osteosarcoma unselected for family history had a highly penetrant germline mutation requiring additional follow-up analysis and possible genetic counseling with cascade testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0197DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082769PMC
May 2020

Expanding the spectrum of CEP55-associated disease to viable phenotypes.

Am J Med Genet A 2020 05 25;182(5):1201-1208. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

The Institute for Genomic Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

Homozygosity for nonsense variants in CEP55 has been associated with a lethal condition characterized by multinucleated neurons, anhydramnios, renal dysplasia, cerebellar hypoplasia, and hydranencephaly (MARCH syndrome) also known as Meckel-like syndrome. Missense variants in CEP55 have not previously been reported in association with disease. Here we describe seven living individuals from five families with biallelic CEP55 variants. Four unrelated individuals with microcephaly, speech delays, and bilateral toe syndactyly all have a common CEP55 variant c.70G>A p.(Glu24Lys) in trans with nonsense variants. Three siblings are homozygous for a consensus splice site variant near the end of the gene. These affected girls all have severely delayed development, microcephaly, and varying degrees of lissencephaly/pachygyria. Here we compare our seven patients with three previously reported families with a prenatal lethal phenotype (MARCH syndrome/Meckel-like syndrome) due to homozygous CEP55 nonsense variants. Our series suggests that individuals with compound heterozygosity for nonsense and missense variants in CEP55 have a different viable phenotype. We show that homozygosity for a splice variant near the end of the CEP55 gene is also compatible with life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61512DOI Listing
May 2020

Homozygous variants in AMPD2 and COL11A1 lead to a complex phenotype of pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 9 and Stickler syndrome type 2.

Am J Med Genet A 2020 03 12;182(3):557-560. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

The Center for Gene Therapy, Columbus, Ohio.

Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 9 (PCH9) is an autosomal recessive neurodevelopmental disorder caused by pathogenic variants in the AMPD2 gene. We evaluated the son of a consanguineous couple who presented with profound hypotonia and global developmental delay. Other features included sensorineural hearing loss, asymmetric astigmatism, and high myopia. Clinical whole-exome sequence analysis identified a homozygous missense variant in AMPD2 (NM_001257360.1:c.2201C > T, p.[Pro734Leu]) that has not been previously reported. Given the strong phenotypic overlap with PCH9, including the identification of the typical "Figure 8" appearance of the brainstem on neuroimaging, we suspect this variant was causative of the neurodevelopmental disability in this individual. An additional homozygous nonsense variant in COL11A1 (NM_001854.4:c.1168G > T, p.[Glu390Ter]) was identified. Variants in this alternatively spliced region of COL11A1 have been identified to cause an autosomal recessive form of Stickler syndrome type 2 characterized by sensorineural hearing loss and eye abnormalities, but without musculoskeletal abnormalities. The COL11A1 variant likely also contributed to the individual's phenotype, suggesting two potentially relevant genetic findings. This challenging case highlights the importance of detailed phenotypic characterization when interpreting whole exome data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61452DOI Listing
March 2020

Outcome in Children With Standard-Risk B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Results of Children's Oncology Group Trial AALL0331.

J Clin Oncol 2020 02 11;38(6):602-612. Epub 2019 Dec 11.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas (UT) Southwestern, Dallas, TX.

Purpose: Children's Oncology Group (COG) AALL0331 tested whether intensified postinduction therapy that improves survival in children with high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) would also improve outcomes for those with standard-risk (SR) ALL.

Patients And Methods: AALL0331 enrolled 5,377 patients between 2005 and 2010. All patients received a 3-drug induction with dexamethasone, vincristine, and pegaspargase (PEG) and were then classified as SR low, SR average, or SR high. Patients with SR-average disease were randomly assigned to receive either standard 4-week consolidation (SC) or 8-week intensified augmented Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster (BFM) consolidation (IC). Those with SR-high disease were nonrandomly assigned to the full COG-augmented BFM regimen, including 2 interim maintenance and delayed intensification phases.

Results: The 6-year event-free survival (EFS) rate for all patients enrolled in AALL0331 was 88.96% ± 0.46%, and overall survival (OS) was 95.54% ± 0.31%. For patients with SR-average disease, the 6-year continuous complete remission (CCR) and OS rates for SC versus IC were 87.8% ± 1.3% versus 89.1% ± 1.2% ( = .52) and 95.8% ± 0.8% versus 95.2% ± 0.8% ( = 1.0), respectively. Those with SR-average disease with end-induction minimal residual disease (MRD) of 0.01% to < 0.1% had an inferior outcome compared with those with lower MRD and no improvement with IC (6-year CCR: SC, 77.5% ± 4.8%; IC, 77.1% ± 4.8%; = .71). At 6 years, the CCR and OS rates among 635 nonrandomly treated patients with SR-high disease were 85.55% ± 1.49% and 92.97% ± 1.08%, respectively.

Conclusion: The 6-year OS rate for > 5,000 children with SR ALL enrolled in AALL0331 exceeded 95%. The addition of IC to treatment for patients with SR-average disease did not improve CCR or OS, even in patients with higher MRD, in whom it might have been predicted to provide more value. The EFS and OS rates are excellent for this group of patients with SR ALL, with particularly good outcomes for those with SR-high disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.01086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7030893PMC
February 2020

Genomic Profiling of Childhood Tumor Patient-Derived Xenograft Models to Enable Rational Clinical Trial Design.

Cell Rep 2019 11;29(6):1675-1689.e9

Preclinical Neurooncology Research Program, Texas Children's Cancer Research Center, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA; Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Accelerating cures for children with cancer remains an immediate challenge as a result of extensive oncogenic heterogeneity between and within histologies, distinct molecular mechanisms evolving between diagnosis and relapsed disease, and limited therapeutic options. To systematically prioritize and rationally test novel agents in preclinical murine models, researchers within the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium are continuously developing patient-derived xenografts (PDXs)-many of which are refractory to current standard-of-care treatments-from high-risk childhood cancers. Here, we genomically characterize 261 PDX models from 37 unique pediatric cancers; demonstrate faithful recapitulation of histologies and subtypes; and refine our understanding of relapsed disease. In addition, we use expression signatures to classify tumors for TP53 and NF1 pathway inactivation. We anticipate that these data will serve as a resource for pediatric oncology drug development and will guide rational clinical trial design for children with cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.09.071DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6880934PMC
November 2019

Samovar: Single-Sample Mosaic Single-Nucleotide Variant Calling with Linked Reads.

iScience 2019 Aug 29;18:1-10. Epub 2019 May 29.

Department of Computer Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Linked-read sequencing enables greatly improves haplotype assembly over standard paired-end analysis. The detection of mosaic single-nucleotide variants benefits from haplotype assembly when the model is informed by the mapping between constituent reads and linked reads. Samovar evaluates haplotype-discordant reads identified through linked-read sequencing, thus enabling phasing and mosaic variant detection across the entire genome. Samovar trains a random forest model to score candidate sites using a dataset that considers read quality, phasing, and linked-read characteristics. Samovar calls mosaic single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) within a single sample with accuracy comparable with what previously required trios or matched tumor/normal pairs and outperforms single-sample mosaic variant callers at minor allele frequency 5%-50% with at least 30X coverage. Samovar finds somatic variants in both tumor and normal whole-genome sequencing from 13 pediatric cancer cases that can be corroborated with high recall with whole exome sequencing. Samovar is available open-source at https://github.com/cdarby/samovar under the MIT license.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2019.05.037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6609817PMC
August 2019

Excellent long-term survival of children with Down syndrome and standard-risk ALL: a report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Blood Adv 2019 06;3(11):1647-1656

Division of Hematology-Oncology, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

The Children's Cancer Group 1991 study was a clinical trial for children with National Cancer Institute standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This trial demonstrated that 5 doses of vincristine and escalating IV methotrexate (MTX) without leucovorin rescue in the interim maintenance (IM) phases resulted in superior event-free survival (EFS) when compared with 2 doses of vincristine, oral (PO) MTX, PO mercaptopurine, and dexamethasone. This report describes a favorable outcome of this regimen in patients with Down syndrome (DS). Forty-four patients with DS were randomized to the arms containing PO MTX during IM, and 31 to those containing IV MTX. Ten-year EFS rates for patients with DS randomized to IV MTX vs PO MTX were 94.4% ± 5.4% vs 81.5% ± 6.6%, respectively. IV methotrexate with strict escalation parameters, as given in this study, was well tolerated, although the mean total tolerated dose received was lower in patients with DS than in those without DS. There was no increase in hepatic toxicity, systemic infections, or treatment-related deaths in patients with DS during IM on either the IV or PO MTX arms, as compared with those without DS. The incidence of mucositis was increased in patients with DS as compared with patients without DS, particularly among patients who received IV MTX. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00005945.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019032094DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560340PMC
June 2019

Genome-Wide Association Study of Susceptibility Loci for T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Children.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 12;111(12):1350-1357

Background: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children and can arise in B or T lymphoid lineages. Although risk loci have been identified for B-ALL, the inherited basis of T-ALL is mostly unknown, with a particular paucity of genome-wide investigation of susceptibility variants in large patient cohorts.

Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1191 children with T-ALL and 12 178 controls, with independent replication using 117 cases and 5518 controls. The associations were tested using an additive logistic regression model. Top risk variants were tested for effects on enhancer activity using luciferase assay. All statistical tests were two sided.

Results: A novel risk locus in the USP7 gene (rs74010351, odds ratio [OR] = 1.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.27 to 1.65, P = 4.51 × 10-8) reached genome-wide significance in the discovery cohort, with independent validation (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.22, P = .04). The USP7 risk allele was overrepresented in individuals of African descent, thus contributing to the higher incidence of T-ALL in this race/ethnic group. Genetic changes in USP7 (germline variants or somatic mutations) were observed in 56.4% of T-ALL with TAL1 overexpression, statistically significantly higher than in any other subtypes. Functional analyses suggested this T-ALL risk allele is located in a putative cis-regulatory DNA element with negative effects on USP7 transcription. Finally, comprehensive comparison of 14 susceptibility loci in T- vs B-ALL pointed to distinctive etiology of these leukemias.

Conclusions: These findings indicate strong associations between inherited genetic variation and T-ALL susceptibility in children and shed new light on the molecular etiology of ALL, particularly commonalities and differences in the biology of the two major subtypes (B- vs T-ALL).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djz043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6910193PMC
December 2019

Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation Does Not Improve the Poor Outcome of Children With Hypodiploid Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Report From Children's Oncology Group.

J Clin Oncol 2019 04 11;37(10):780-789. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

14 New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: Children and young adults with hypodiploid B-lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) fare poorly and hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) is often pursued in first complete remission (CR1). We retrospectively reviewed the outcomes of children and young adults with hypodiploid B-ALL who were enrolled in recent Children's Oncology Group (COG) trials to evaluate the impact of HSCT on outcome.

Patients And Methods: Cytogenetic analyses and DNA index were performed at COG-approved laboratories, and hypodiploidy was defined as modal chromosome number less than 44 and/or DNA index less than 0.81. Minimal residual disease (MRD) was determined centrally using flow cytometry at two reference laboratories. Patients with hypodiploid ALL came off protocol therapy postinduction and we retrospectively collected details on their subsequent therapy and outcomes. Event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated for the cohort.

Results: Between 2003 and 2011, 8,522 patients with National Cancer Institute standard-risk and high-risk B-ALL were enrolled in COG AALL03B1 ( ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00482352). Hypodiploidy occurred in 1.5% of patients (n = 131), 98.3% of whom achieved CR after induction therapy. Five-year EFS and OS were 52.2% ± 4.9% and 58.9% ± 4.8%, respectively. Outcomes for patients undergoing CR1 HSCT were not significantly improved: 5-year EFS and OS were 57.4% ± 7.0% and 66.2% ± 6.6% compared with 47.8% ± 7.5% and 53.8% ± 7.6%, respectively ( P = .49 and .34, respectively) for those who did not undergo transplantation. Patients with MRD of 0.01% or greater at the end of induction had 5-year EFS and OS of 26.7% ± 9.3% and 29.3% ± 10.1%, respectively, and HSCT had no significant impact on outcomes.

Conclusion: Children and young adults with hypodiploid B-ALL continue to fare poorly and do not seem to benefit from CR1 HSCT. This is especially true for patients with MRD of 0.01% or greater at the end of induction. New treatment strategies are urgently needed for these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.18.00884DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6440386PMC
April 2019

Genome-wide discovery of somatic coding and noncoding mutations in pediatric endemic and sporadic Burkitt lymphoma.

Blood 2019 03 7;133(12):1313-1324. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH.

Although generally curable with intensive chemotherapy in resource-rich settings, Burkitt lymphoma (BL) remains a deadly disease in older patients and in sub-Saharan Africa. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) positivity is a feature in more than 90% of cases in malaria-endemic regions, and up to 30% elsewhere. However, the molecular features of BL have not been comprehensively evaluated when taking into account tumor EBV status or geographic origin. Through an integrative analysis of whole-genome and transcriptome data, we show a striking genome-wide increase in aberrant somatic hypermutation in EBV-positive tumors, supporting a link between EBV and activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AICDA) activity. In addition to identifying novel candidate BL genes such as , , and , we demonstrate that EBV-positive tumors had significantly fewer driver mutations, especially among genes with roles in apoptosis. We also found immunoglobulin variable region genes that were disproportionally used to encode clonal B-cell receptors (BCRs) in the tumors. These include IGHV4-34, known to produce autoreactive antibodies, and IGKV3-20, a feature described in other B-cell malignancies but not yet in BL. Our results suggest that tumor EBV status defines a specific BL phenotype irrespective of geographic origin, with particular molecular properties and distinct pathogenic mechanisms. The novel mutation patterns identified here imply rational use of DNA-damaging chemotherapy in some patients with BL and targeted agents such as the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib in others, whereas the importance of BCR signaling in BL strengthens the potential benefit of inhibitors for PI3K, Syk, and Src family kinases among these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2018-09-871418DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428665PMC
March 2019

Loss Enhances HSC Self-Renewal Driving Tumor Initiation and Leukemia Stem Cell Activity in T-ALL.

Cancer Discov 2019 03 19;9(3):436-451. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

Institute for Cancer Genetics, Columbia University, New York, New York.

The plant homeodomain 6 gene () is frequently mutated in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL); however, its specific functional role in leukemia development remains to be established. Here, we show that loss of is an early mutational event in leukemia transformation. Mechanistically, genetic inactivation of in the hematopoietic system enhances hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) long-term self-renewal and hematopoietic recovery after chemotherapy by rendering knockout HSCs more quiescent and less prone to stress-induced activation. Consistent with a leukemia-initiating tumor suppressor role, inactivation of in hematopoietic progenitors lowers the threshold for the development of NOTCH1-induced T-ALL. Moreover, loss of in leukemia lymphoblasts activates a leukemia stem cell transcriptional program and drives enhanced T-ALL leukemia-initiating cell activity. These results implicate in the control of HSC homeostasis and long-term self-renewal and support a role for loss as a driver of leukemia-initiating cell activity in T-ALL. SIGNIFICANCE: controls HSC homeostasis, leukemia initiation, and T-ALL leukemia-initiating cell self-renewal. These results substantiate a role for mutations as early events and drivers of leukemia stem cell activity in the pathogenesis of T-ALL..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-18-1005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6425751PMC
March 2019

Novel susceptibility variants at the locus for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Hispanics.

Blood 2019 02 3;133(7):724-729. Epub 2018 Dec 3.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common malignancy in children. Characterized by high levels of Native American ancestry, Hispanics are disproportionally affected by this cancer with high incidence and inferior survival. However, the genetic basis for this disparity remains poorly understood because of a paucity of genome-wide investigation of ALL in Hispanics. Performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 940 Hispanic children with ALL and 681 ancestry-matched non-ALL controls, we identified a novel susceptibility locus in the gene (rs2836365; = 3.76 × 10; odds ratio [OR] = 1.56), with independent validation ( = .01; OR = 1.43). Imputation analyses pointed to a single causal variant driving the association signal at this locus overlapping with putative regulatory DNA elements. The effect size of the risk variant rose with increasing Native American genetic ancestry. The risk genotype was underrepresented in ALL with the fusion ( < .0005) but enriched in the subtype ( < .05). Interestingly, ALL cases with germline risk alleles were significantly less likely to have somatic deletion ( < .05). Our results provide novel insights into genetic predisposition to ALL and its contribution to racial disparity in this cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2018-07-862946DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6376278PMC
February 2019

Improved Survival for Children and Young Adults With T-Lineage Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Results From the Children's Oncology Group AALL0434 Methotrexate Randomization.

J Clin Oncol 2018 10 23;36(29):2926-2934. Epub 2018 Aug 23.

Stuart S. Winter, Children's Minnesota Cancer and Blood Disorders Program, Minneapolis, MN; Kimberly P. Dunsmore, Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, VA; Meenakshi Devidas and Zhiguo Chen, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; Brent L. Wood, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA; Natia Esiashvili, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Nancy Eisenberg, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM; Nikki Briegel, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia; Robert J. Hayashi, St Louis Children's Hospital, St Louis, MO; Julie M. Gastier-Foster, Nationwide Children's Hospital; Julie M. Gastier-Foster and Nyla A. Heerema, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Andrew J. Carroll, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; Barbara L. Asselin, University of Rochester Medical Center and Wilmot Cancer Institute, Rochester; Elizabeth A. Raetz and William L. Carroll, Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, New York, NY; Paul S. Gaynon, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Los Angeles; Mignon L. Loh, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Michael J. Borowitz, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Karen R. Rabin, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Naomi J. Winick, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX; Patrick A. Zweidler-Mckay, ImmunoGen, Waltham, MA; and Stephen P. Hunger, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Purpose: Early intensification with methotrexate (MTX) is a key component of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) therapy. Two different approaches to MTX intensification exist but had not been compared in T-cell ALL (T-ALL): the Children's Oncology Group (COG) escalating dose intravenous MTX without leucovorin rescue plus pegaspargase escalating dose, Capizzi-style, intravenous MTX (C-MTX) regimen and the Berlin-Frankfurt-Muenster (BFM) high-dose intravenous MTX (HDMTX) plus leucovorin rescue regimen.

Patients And Methods: COG AALL0434 included a 2 × 2 randomization that compared the COG-augmented BFM (ABFM) regimen with either C-MTX or HDMTX during the 8-week interim maintenance phase. All patients with T-ALL, except for those with low-risk features, received prophylactic (12 Gy) or therapeutic (18 Gy for CNS3) cranial irradiation during either the consolidation (C-MTX; second month of therapy) or delayed intensification (HDMTX; seventh month of therapy) phase.

Results: AALL0434 accrued 1,895 patients from 2007 to 2014. The 5-year event-free survival and overall survival rates for all eligible, evaluable patients with T-ALL were 83.8% (95% CI, 81.2% to 86.4%) and 89.5% (95% CI, 87.4% to 91.7%), respectively. The 1,031 patients with T-ALL but without CNS3 disease or testicular leukemia were randomly assigned to receive ABFM with C-MTX (n = 519) or HDMTX (n = 512). The estimated 5-year disease-free survival ( P = .005) and overall survival ( P = .04) rates were 91.5% (95% CI, 88.1% to 94.8%) and 93.7% (95% CI, 90.8% to 96.6%) for C-MTX and 85.3% (95% CI, 81.0%-89.5%) and 89.4% (95% CI, 85.7%-93.2%) for HDMTX. Patients assigned to C-MTX had 32 relapses, six with CNS involvement, whereas those assigned to HDMTX had 59 relapses, 23 with CNS involvement.

Conclusion: AALL0434 established that ABFM with C-MTX was superior to ABFM plus HDMTX for T-ALL in approximately 90% of patients who received CRT, with later timing for those receiving HDMTX.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2018.77.7250DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6366301PMC
October 2018

Genomic and outcome analyses of Ph-like ALL in NCI standard-risk patients: a report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Blood 2018 08 11;132(8):815-824. Epub 2018 Jul 11.

Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Philadelphia chromosome-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like ALL; --like ALL) in children with National Cancer Institute (NCI) intermediate- or high-risk (HR) ALL is associated with poor outcome. Ph-like ALL is characterized by genetic alterations that activate cytokine receptor and kinase signaling and may be amenable to treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The prevalence, outcome, and potential for targeted therapy of Ph-like ALL in standard-risk (SR) ALL is less clear. We retrospectively analyzed a cohort of 1023 SR childhood B-ALL consecutively enrolled in the Children's Oncology Group AALL0331 clinical trial. The Ph-like ALL gene expression profile was identified in 206 patients, and 67 patients with either - (n = 6) or - (n = 61) were excluded from downstream analysis, leaving 139 of 1023 (13.6%) as Ph-like. Targeted reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays and RNA-sequencing identified kinase-activating alterations in 38.8% of SR Ph-like cases, including rearrangements (29.5% of Ph-like), -class fusions (1.4%), fusions (1.4%), an fusion (0.7%), and other sequence mutations (, , ; 5.6%). Patients with Ph-like ALL had inferior 7-year event-free survival compared with non-Ph-like ALL (82.4 ± 3.6% vs 90.7 ± 1.0%, = .0022), with no difference in overall survival (93.2 ± 2.4% vs 95.8 ± 0.7%, = .14). These findings illustrate the significant differences in the spectrum of kinase alterations and clinical outcome of Ph-like ALL based on presenting clinical features and establish that genomic alterations potentially targetable with approved kinase inhibitors are less frequent in SR than in HR ALL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2018-04-841676DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107876PMC
August 2018

Dasatinib Plus Intensive Chemotherapy in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults With Philadelphia Chromosome-Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Results of Children's Oncology Group Trial AALL0622.

J Clin Oncol 2018 08 29;36(22):2306-2314. Epub 2018 May 29.

William B. Slayton, John A. Kairalla, Meenakshi Devidas, Xinlei Mi, and Sherri L. Mizrahy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; Kirk R. Schultz, BC Children's Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Michael A. Pulsipher, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Los Angeles; Lance Sieger, University of California Los Angles-Harbor, Torrance; Mignon L. Loh, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Bill H. Chang, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR; Charles Mullighan, Ilaria Iacobucci, and Thomas Merchant, St Jude's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; Lewis B. Silverman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; Michael J. Borowitz, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Andrew J. Carroll, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; Nyla A. Heerema, Ohio State University; Julie M. Gastier-Foster, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH; Brent L. Wood, University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, WA; Valerie I. Brown, Penn State Health Children's Hospital, Hershey; Stephen P. Hunger, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA; Marilyn J. Siegel, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO; Elizabeth A. Raetz, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Naomi J. Winick, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX; and William L. Carroll, New York University Langone Health Center, New York, NY.

Purpose Addition of imatinib to intensive chemotherapy improved survival for children and young adults with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Compared with imatinib, dasatinib has increased potency, CNS penetration, and activity against imatinib-resistant clones. Patients and Methods Children's Oncology Group (COG) trial AALL0622 (Bristol Myers Squibb trial CA180-204) tested safety and feasibility of adding dasatinib to intensive chemotherapy starting at induction day 15 in patients with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia age 1 to 30 years. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) was recommended for patients at high risk based on slow response and for those with a matched family donor regardless of response after at least 11 weeks of therapy. Patients at standard risk based on rapid response received chemotherapy plus dasatinib for an additional 120 weeks. Patients with overt CNS leukemia received cranial irradiation. Results Sixty eligible patients were enrolled. Five-year overall (OS) and event-free survival rates (± standard deviations [SD]) were 86% ± 5% and 60% ± 7% overall, 87% ± 5% and 61% ± 7% for standard-risk patients (n = 48; 19% underwent HSCT), and 89% ± 13% and 67% ± 19% for high-risk patients (n = 9; 89% underwent HSCT), respectively. Five-year cumulative incidence (± SD) of CNS relapse was 15% ± 6%. Outcomes (± SDs) were similar to those in COG AALL0031, which used the same chemotherapy with continuous imatinib: 5-year OS of 81% ± 6% versus 86% ± 5% ( P = .63) and 5-year disease-free survival of 68% ± 7% versus 60% ± 7% ( P = 0.31) for AALL0031 versus AALL0622, respectively. IKZF1 deletions, present in 56% of tested patients, were associated with significantly inferior OS and event-free survival overall and in standard-risk patients. Conclusion Dasatinib was well tolerated with chemotherapy and provided outcomes similar to those with imatinib in COG AALL0031, where all patients received cranial irradiation. Our results support limiting HSCT to slow responders and suggest a potential role for transplantation in rapid responders with IKZF1 deletions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2017.76.7228DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6067800PMC
August 2018
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