Publications by authors named "Susan Whitman"

58 Publications

Can quantifying morphology and TMEM119 expression distinguish between microglia and infiltrating macrophages after ischemic stroke and reperfusion in male and female mice?

J Neuroinflammation 2021 Feb 22;18(1):58. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

College of Nursing, University of Arizona, 1305 N. Martin Ave., Tucson, AZ, 85721, USA.

Background: Ischemic stroke is an acquired brain injury with gender-dependent outcomes. A persistent obstacle in understanding the sex-specific neuroinflammatory contributions to ischemic brain injury is distinguishing between resident microglia and infiltrating macrophages-both phagocytes-and determining cell population-specific contributions to injury evolution and recovery processes. Our purpose was to identify microglial and macrophage populations regulated by ischemic stroke using morphology analysis and the presence of microglia transmembrane protein 119 (TMEM119). Second, we examined sex and menopause differences in microglia/macrophage cell populations after an ischemic stroke.

Methods: Male and female, premenopausal and postmenopausal, mice underwent either 60 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion and 24 h of reperfusion or sham surgery. The accelerated ovarian failure model was used to model postmenopause. Brain tissue was collected to quantify the infarct area and for immunohistochemistry and western blot methods. Ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule, TMEM119, and confocal microscopy were used to analyze the microglia morphology and TMEM119 area in the ipsilateral brain regions. Western blot was used to quantify protein quantity.

Results: Post-stroke injury is increased in male and postmenopause female mice vs. premenopause female mice (p < 0.05) with differences primarily occurring in the caudal sections. After stroke, the microglia underwent a region, but not sex group, dependent transformation into less ramified cells (p < 0.0001). However, the number of phagocytic microglia was increased in distal ipsilateral regions of postmenopausal mice vs. the other sex groups (p < 0.05). The number of TMEM119-positive cells was decreased in proximity to the infarct (p < 0.0001) but without a sex group effect. Two key findings prevented distinguishing microglia from systemic macrophages. First, morphological data were not congruent with TMEM119 immunofluorescence data. Cells with severely decreased TMEM119 immunofluorescence were ramified, a distinguishing microglia characteristic. Second, whereas the TMEM119 immunofluorescence area decreased in proximity to the infarcted area, the TMEM119 protein quantity was unchanged in the ipsilateral hemisphere regions using western blot methods.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that TMEM119 is not a stable microglia marker in male and female mice in the context of ischemic stroke. Until TMEM119 function in the brain is elucidated, its use to distinguish between cell populations following brain injury with cell infiltration is cautioned.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12974-021-02105-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7901206PMC
February 2021

The Longitudinal Parallel Process Analysis of Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress, Symptom Clusters, and Cognitive Function in Children With Leukemia.

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs 2020 Jul/Aug;37(4):244-254. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.

During treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), children report co-occurring symptoms of fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain, nausea, and depression as a symptom cluster. Central nervous system-directed ALL therapies also put children at risk for cognitive impairments. Cancer therapies can cause an increase in oxidative stress, which may contribute to treatment-related symptoms. This study examined the longitudinal relationships between biomarkers of oxidative stress in the cerebrospinal fluid, the Childhood Cancer Symptom Cluster-Leukemia (CCSC-L), and cognition, in children over the first year of ALL treatment. Glutathione (GSH) biomarkers of oxidative stress were measured in cerebrospinal fluid collected during treatment lumbar punctures. GSH biomarkers, symptoms, and cognitive function of 132 children aged 3 to 18 years were evaluated at four time points during the first year of leukemia treatment. Participants, 7 years and older, completed self-report measures, and parents reported for younger children. Cognitive function measurements for all participants were completed by parents. A longitudinal parallel-process model was used to explore the influence of the initial measurement and the subsequent change over four time points of the GSH biomarkers on the CCSC-L and cognition. GSH biomarkers increased over the four time points indicating decreasing oxidative stress. When GSH biomarkers were higher (less oxidative stress) at the initial measurement, the CCSC-L severity was lower, cognition was better, and cognition improved over the four measurements. Screening children for high levels of oxidative stress would be a foundation for future intervention studies to address symptom distress and cognitive impairments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1043454220909785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312345PMC
March 2021

Skeletal impact of 17β-estradiol in T cell-deficient mice: age-dependent bone effects and osteosarcoma formation.

Clin Exp Metastasis 2020 04 20;37(2):269-281. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Department of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

Estrogen (E)-dependent ER+ breast cancer, the most common breast cancer subtype, is also the most likely to metastasize to bone and form osteolytic lesions. However, ER+ breast cancer bone metastasis human xenograft models in nude mice are rarely studied due to complexities associated with distinguishing possible tumoral vs. bone microenvironmental effects of E. To address this knowledge gap, we systematically examined bone effects of E in developing young (4-week-old) vs. skeletally mature (15-week-old) female Foxn1 nude mice supplemented with commercial 60-day slow-release E pellets and doses commonly used for ER+ xenograft models. E pellets (0.05-0.72 mg) were implanted subcutaneously and longitudinal changes in hind limb bones (vs. age-matched controls) were determined over 6 weeks by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), microCT, radiographic imaging, and histology, concurrent with assessment of serum levels of E and bone turnover markers. All E doses tested induced significant and identical increases in bone density (BMD) and volume (BV/TV) in 4-week-old mice with high bone turnover, increasing bone mineral content (BMC) while suppressing increases in bone area (BA). E supplementation, which caused dose-dependent changes in circulating E that were not sustained, also led to more modest increases in BMD and BV/TV in skeletally mature 15-week-old mice. Notably, E-supplementation induced osteolytic osteosarcomas in a subset of mice independent of age. These results demonstrate that bone effects of E supplementation should be accounted for when assessing ER+ human xenograft bone metastases models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10585-019-10012-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7731916PMC
April 2020

Influence of Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Pathways on Longitudinal Symptom Experiences in Children With Leukemia.

Biol Res Nurs 2019 10 17;21(5):458-465. Epub 2019 Jul 17.

5 College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of oxidative stress (F2-isoprostanes) and inflammatory (interleukin [IL]-8) biomarkers on symptom trajectories during the first 18 months of childhood leukemia treatment.

Method: A repeated-measures design was used to evaluate symptoms experienced by 218 children during treatment. A symptom cluster (fatigue, pain, and nausea) was explored over four time periods: initiation of post-induction therapy, 4 and 8 months into post-induction therapy, and the beginning of maintenance therapy (12 months postinduction). F2-isoprostanes and IL-8 were evaluated in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples collected at baseline (diagnosis) and then at the four time periods. The longitudinal relationships of these biomarkers with the symptom cluster were examined using the longitudinal parallel process.

Results: Pain and fatigue levels were highest during the post-induction phases of treatment and decreased slightly during maintenance therapy, while nausea scores were relatively stable. Even in the later phases of treatment, children continued to experience symptoms. CSF levels of the biomarkers increased during the post-induction phases of treatment. Early increases in the biomarkers were associated with more severe symptoms during the same period; patients who had increased biomarkers over time also experienced more severe symptoms over time.

Conclusions: Findings reveal that children experienced symptoms throughout the course of leukemia treatment and support hypothesized longitudinal relationships of oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers with symptom severity. Activation of the biomarker pathways during treatment may explain underlying mechanisms of symptom experiences and identify which children are at risk for severe symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1099800419863160DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6854429PMC
October 2019

A novel regimen for relapsed/refractory adult acute myeloid leukemia using a partial tandem duplication targeted therapy: results of phase 1 study NCI 8485.

Haematologica 2018 06 22;103(6):982-987. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine, Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA.

partial tandem duplication occurs in approximately 5-10% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia and is associated with adverse prognosis. wild type is epigenetically silenced in partial tandem duplication; re-expression can be induced with DNA methyltransferase and/or histone deacetylase inhibitors , sensitizing myeloid blasts to chemotherapy. We hypothesized that epigenetic silencing of wildtype contributes to partial tandem duplication-associated leukemogenesis and pharmacologic re-expression activates apoptotic mechanisms important for chemoresponse. We developed a regimen for this unique molecular subset, but due to relatively low frequency of partial tandem duplication, this dose finding study was conducted in relapsed/refractory disease regardless of molecular subtype. Seventeen adults (< age 60) with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia were treated on study. Patients received decitabine 20 milligrams/meter daily on days 1-10 and vorinostat 400 milligrams daily on days 5-10. Cytarabine was dose-escalated from 1.5 grams/meter every 12 hours to 3 grams/meter every 12 hours on days 12, 14 and 16. Two patients experienced dose limiting toxicities at dose level 1 due to prolonged myelosuppression. However, as both patients achieved complete remission after Day 42, the protocol was amended to adjust the definition of hematologic dose limiting toxicity. No further dose limiting toxicities were found. Six of 17 patients achieved complete remission including 2 of 4 patients with partial tandem duplication. Combination therapy with decitabine, vorinostat and cytarabine was tolerated in younger relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia and should be explored further focusing on the partial tandem duplication subset. ().
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2017.186890DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6058798PMC
June 2018

Decitabine enhances anti-CD33 monoclonal antibody BI 836858-mediated natural killer ADCC against AML blasts.

Blood 2016 06 24;127(23):2879-89. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, and.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of acute leukemia, affecting older individuals at a median age of 67 years. Resistance to intensive induction chemotherapy is the major cause of death in elderly AML; hence, novel treatment strategies are warranted. CD33-directed antibody-drug conjugates (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) have been shown to improve overall survival, validating CD33 as a target for antibody-based therapy of AML. Here, we report the in vitro efficacy of BI 836858, a fully human, Fc-engineered, anti-CD33 antibody using AML cell lines and primary AML blasts as targets. BI 836858-opsonized AML cells significantly induced both autologous and allogeneic natural killer (NK)-cell degranulation and NK-cell-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). In vitro treatment of AML blasts with decitabine (DAC) or 5-azacytidine, 2 hypomethylating agents that show efficacy in older patients, did not compromise BI 836858-induced NK-cell-mediated ADCC. Evaluation of BI 836858-mediated ADCC in serial marrow AML aspirates in patients who received a 10-day course of DAC (pre-DAC, days 4, 11, and 28 post-DAC) revealed significantly higher ADCC in samples at day 28 post-DAC when compared with pre-DAC treatment. Analysis of ligands to activating receptors (NKG2D) showed significantly increased NKG2D ligand [NKG2DL] expression in day 28 post-DAC samples compared with pre-DAC samples; when NKG2DL receptor was blocked using antibodies, BI 836858-mediated ADCC was significantly decreased, suggesting that DAC enhances AML blast susceptibility to BI 836858 by upregulating NKG2DL. These data provide a rationale for combination therapy of Fc-engineered antibodies such as BI 836858 with azanucleosides in elderly patients with AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2015-11-680546DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4900955PMC
June 2016

SPARC promotes leukemic cell growth and predicts acute myeloid leukemia outcome.

J Clin Invest 2014 Apr 3;124(4):1512-24. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Aberrant expression of the secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin) (SPARC) gene, which encodes a matricellular protein that participates in normal tissue remodeling, is associated with a variety of diseases including cancer, but the contribution of SPARC to malignant growth remains controversial. We previously reported that SPARC was among the most upregulated genes in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) patients with gene-expression profiles predictive of unfavorable outcome, such as mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2-R172) and overexpression of the oncogenes brain and acute leukemia, cytoplasmic (BAALC) and v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog (ERG). In contrast, SPARC was downregulated in CN-AML patients harboring mutations in nucleophosmin (NPM1) that are associated with favorable prognosis. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that SPARC expression is clinically relevant in AML. Here, we found that SPARC overexpression is associated with adverse outcome in CN-AML patients and promotes aggressive leukemia growth in murine models of AML. In leukemia cells, SPARC expression was mediated by the SP1/NF-κB transactivation complex. Furthermore, secreted SPARC activated the integrin-linked kinase/AKT (ILK/AKT) pathway, likely via integrin interaction, and subsequent β-catenin signaling, which is involved in leukemia cell self-renewal. Pharmacologic inhibition of the SP1/NF-κB complex resulted in SPARC downregulation and leukemia growth inhibition. Together, our data indicate that evaluation of SPARC expression has prognosticative value and SPARC is a potential therapeutic target for AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI70921DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3973087PMC
April 2014

Epigenetics meets genetics in acute myeloid leukemia: clinical impact of a novel seven-gene score.

J Clin Oncol 2014 Feb 30;32(6):548-56. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

Guido Marcucci, Pearlly Yan, Kati Maharry, David Frankhouser, Deedra Nicolet, Klaus H. Metzeler, Jessica Kohlschmidt, Krzysztof Mrózek, Yue-Zhong Wu, Donna Bucci, John P. Curfman, Susan P. Whitman, Ann-Kathrin Eisfeld, Jason H. Mendler, Sebastian Schwind, Heiko Becker, John C. Byrd, Ramiro Garzon, Michael A. Caligiuri, Stefano Volinia, and Clara D. Bloomfield, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center; Ralf Bundschuh, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Kati Maharry, Deedra Nicolet, and Jessica Kohlschmidt, Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Statistics and Data Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Andrew J. Carroll, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; Maria R. Baer, Greenebaum Cancer Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Meir Wetzler, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo; Jonathan E. Kolitz, Monter Cancer Center, Lake Success, NY; Thomas H. Carter, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; Bayard L. Powell, The Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC; Richard M. Stone, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; Constance Bär and Christoph Plass, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.

Purpose: Molecular risk stratification of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is largely based on genetic markers. However, epigenetic changes, including DNA methylation, deregulate gene expression and may also have prognostic impact. We evaluated the clinical relevance of integrating DNA methylation and genetic information in AML.

Methods: Next-generation sequencing analysis of methylated DNA identified differentially methylated regions (DMRs) associated with prognostic mutations in older (≥ 60 years) cytogenetically normal (CN) patients with AML (n = 134). Genes with promoter DMRs and expression levels significantly associated with outcome were used to compute a prognostic gene expression weighted summary score that was tested and validated in four independent patient sets (n = 355).

Results: In the training set, we identified seven genes (CD34, RHOC, SCRN1, F2RL1, FAM92A1, MIR155HG, and VWA8) with promoter DMRs and expression associated with overall survival (OS; P ≤ .001). Each gene had high DMR methylation and lower expression, which were associated with better outcome. A weighted summary expression score of the seven gene expression levels was computed. A low score was associated with a higher complete remission (CR) rate and longer disease-free survival and OS (P < .001 for all end points). This was validated in multivariable models and in two younger (< 60 years) and two older independent sets of patients with CN-AML. Considering the seven genes individually, the fewer the genes with high expression, the better the outcome. Younger and older patients with no genes or one gene with high expression had the best outcomes (CR rate, 94% and 87%, respectively; 3-year OS, 80% and 42%, respectively).

Conclusion: A seven-gene score encompassing epigenetic and genetic prognostic information identifies novel AML subsets that are meaningful for treatment guidance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2013.50.6337DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918538PMC
February 2014

GAS6 expression identifies high-risk adult AML patients: potential implications for therapy.

Leukemia 2014 Jun 11;28(6):1252-1258. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH, USA.

Emerging data demonstrate important roles for the TYRO3/AXL/MERTK receptor tyrosine kinase (TAM RTK) family in diverse cancers. We investigated the prognostic relevance of GAS6 expression, encoding the common TAM RTK ligand, in 270 adults (n=71 aged<60 years; n=199 aged ⩾60 years) with de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML). Patients expressing GAS6 (GAS6+), especially those aged ⩾60 years, more often failed to achieve a complete remission (CR). In all patients, GAS6+ patients had shorter disease-free (DFS) and overall (OS) survival than patients without GAS6 expression (GAS6-). After adjusting for other prognostic markers, GAS6+ predicted CR failure (P=0.02), shorter DFS (P=0.004) and OS (P=0.04). To gain further biological insights, we derived a GAS6-associated gene-expression signature (P<0.001) that in GAS6+ patients included overexpressed BAALC and MN1, known to confer adverse prognosis in CN-AML, and overexpressed CXCL12, encoding stromal cell-derived factor, and its receptor genes, chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4) and CXCR7. This study reports for the first time that GAS6 expression is an adverse prognostic marker in CN-AML. Although GAS6 decoy receptors are not yet available in the clinic for GAS6+ CN-AML therapy, potential alternative therapies targeting GAS6+-associated pathways, for example, CXCR4 antagonists, may be considered for GAS6+ patients to sensitize them to chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/leu.2013.371DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4047202PMC
June 2014

Eradicating acute myeloid leukemia in a Mll(PTD/wt):Flt3(ITD/wt) murine model: a path to novel therapeutic approaches for human disease.

Blood 2013 Nov 1;122(23):3778-83. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH;

The coexpression of the MLL partial tandem duplication (PTD) and the FLT3 internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations associate with a poor outcome in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In mice, a double knock-in (dKI) of Mll(PTD/wt) and Flt3(ITD/wt) mutations induces spontaneous AML with an increase in DNA methyltransferases (Dnmt1, 3a, and 3b) and global DNA methylation index, thereby recapitulating its human AML counterpart. We determined that a regulator of Dnmts, miR-29b, is downregulated in bone marrow of dKI AML mice. Bortezomib exerted a dose-dependent increase in miR-29b expression in AML blasts ex vivo, followed by decreased Dnmts, reduced proliferation, and increased apoptosis. In vivo, bortezomib was not active against dKI AML, yet liposomal-encapsulated bortezomib, as a single agent, reversed downregulation of miR-29b in vivo and induced a long-term (90-day) disease-free remission in 80% of dKI AML mice that exhibited high leukemic burden at the start of therapy, yet showed no signs of relapse at autopsy. Taken together, these data support that liposomal bortezomib, as a single agent, eradicates Mll(PTD/wt):Flt3(ITD/wt) AML in mouse and may represent a powerful and potentially curative approach to high-risk human disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2013-06-507426DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3843236PMC
November 2013

Clinical role of microRNAs in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia: miR-155 upregulation independently identifies high-risk patients.

J Clin Oncol 2013 Jun 6;31(17):2086-93. Epub 2013 May 6.

The Ohio State University, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Biomedical Research Tower 460 W. 12th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Purpose: To evaluate the impact of miR-155 on the outcome of adults with cytogenetically normal (CN) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the context of other clinical and molecular prognosticators and to gain insight into the leukemogenic role of this microRNA.

Patients And Methods: We evaluated 363 patients with primary CN-AML. miR-155 levels were measured in pretreatment marrow and blood by NanoString nCounter assays that quantified the expression of the encoding gene MIR155HG. All molecular prognosticators were assessed centrally. miR-155-associated gene and microRNA expression profiles were derived using microarrays.

Results: Considering all patients, high miR-155 expression was associated with a lower complete remission (CR) rate (P < .001) and shorter disease-free survival (P = .001) and overall survival (OS; P < .001) after adjusting for age. In multivariable analyses, high miR-155 expression remained an independent predictor for a lower CR rate (P = .007) and shorter OS (P < .001). High miR-155 expressers had approximately 50% reduction in the odds of achieving CR and 60% increase in the risk of death compared with low miR-155 expressers. Although high miR-155 expression was not associated with a distinct microRNA expression profile, it was associated with a gene expression profile enriched for genes involved in cellular mechanisms deregulated in AML (eg, apoptosis, nuclear factor-κB activation, and inflammation), thereby supporting a pivotal and unique role of this microRNA in myeloid leukemogenesis.

Conclusion: miR-155 expression levels are associated with clinical outcome independently of other strong clinical and molecular predictors. The availability of emerging compounds with antagonistic activity to microRNAs in the clinic provides the opportunity for future therapeutic targeting of miR-155 in AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2012.45.6228DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731981PMC
June 2013

Inhibition of the receptor tyrosine kinase Axl impedes activation of the FLT3 internal tandem duplication in human acute myeloid leukemia: implications for Axl as a potential therapeutic target.

Blood 2013 Mar 15;121(11):2064-73. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Department of Microbiology, Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Approximately 20% to 25% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a constitutively activated FLT3-internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD), and these patients exhibit a poor prognosis. Here, we report that Axl, a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) overexpressed and constitutively active in human AML, targets the RTK FLT3 in FLT3-ITD(+) AML. Abrogation of Axl activation by soluble Axl chimeric protein (Axl-Fc) or small interfering RNA (siRNA) diminishes constitutive FLT3 phosphorylation in FLT3-ITD(+) AML. In addition, inhibition of Axl activation by Axl-Fc interferes with the physical interaction between Axl and FLT3. We found that Axl-Fc, a pharmacologic Axl inhibitor, or siRNA targeting Axl inhibits cell growth, induces cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis, and relieves a block in myeloid differentiation of FLT3-ITD(+) AML in vitro. Axl-Fc also suppresses the growth of human FLT3-ITD(+) AML in vivo. Collectively, our data suggest that Axl contributes to the pathogenesis of FLT3-ITD(+) AML through, at least in part, positive regulation of constitutive FLT3 activation. This also suggests that Axl should be pursued as a potential target for the treatment of FLT3-ITD(+) AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-07-444018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596966PMC
March 2013

Lenalidomide-mediated enhanced translation of C/EBPα-p30 protein up-regulates expression of the antileukemic microRNA-181a in acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2013 Jan 25;121(1):159-69. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Recently, we showed that increased miR-181a expression was associated with improved outcomes in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML). Interestingly, miR-181a expression was increased in CN-AML patients harboring CEBPA mutations, which are usually biallelic and associate with better prognosis. CEBPA encodes the C/EBPα transcription factor. We demonstrate here that the presence of N-terminal CEBPA mutations and miR-181a expression are linked. Indeed, the truncated C/EBPα-p30 isoform, which is produced from the N-terminal mutant CEBPA gene or from the differential translation of wild-type CEBPA mRNA and is commonly believed to have no transactivation activity, binds to the miR-181a-1 promoter and up-regulates the microRNA expression. Furthermore, we show that lenalidomide, a drug approved for myelodysplastic syndromes and multiple myeloma, enhances translation of the C/EBPα-p30 isoform, resulting in higher miR-181a levels. In xenograft mouse models, ectopic miR-181a expression inhibits tumor growth. Similarly, lenalidomide exhibits antitumorigenic activity paralleled by increased miR-181a expression. This regulatory pathway may explain an increased sensitivity to apoptosis-inducing chemotherapy in subsets of AML patients. Altogether, our data provide a potential explanation for the improved clinical outcomes observed in CEBPA-mutated CN-AML patients, and suggest that lenalidomide treatment enhancing the C/EBPα-p30 protein levels and in turn miR-181a may sensitize AML blasts to chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-05-428573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538328PMC
January 2013

Prognostic significance of the European LeukemiaNet standardized system for reporting cytogenetic and molecular alterations in adults with acute myeloid leukemia.

J Clin Oncol 2012 Dec 17;30(36):4515-23. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH 43210-1228, USA.

Purpose: To evaluate the prognostic significance of the international European LeukemiaNet (ELN) guidelines for reporting genetic alterations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Patients And Methods: We analyzed 1,550 adults with primary AML, treated on Cancer and Leukemia Group B first-line trials, who had pretreatment cytogenetics and, for cytogenetically normal patients, mutational status of NPM1, CEBPA, and FLT3 available. We compared complete remission (CR) rates, disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS) among patients classified into the four ELN genetic groups (favorable, intermediate-I, intermediate-II, adverse) separately for 818 younger (age < 60 years) and 732 older (age ≥ 60 years) patients.

Results: The percentages of younger versus older patients in the favorable (41% v 20%; P < .001), intermediate-II (19% v 30%; P < .001), and adverse (22% v 31%; P < .001) genetic groups differed. The favorable group had the best and the adverse group the worst CR rates, DFS, and OS in both age groups. Both intermediate groups had significantly worse outcomes than the favorable but better than the adverse group. Intermediate-I and intermediate-II groups in older patients had similar outcomes, whereas the intermediate-II group in younger patients had better OS but not better CR rates or DFS than the intermediate-I group. The prognostic significance of ELN classification was confirmed by multivariable analyses. For each ELN group, older patients had worse outcomes than younger patients.

Conclusion: The ELN classification clearly separates the genetic groups by outcome, supporting its use for risk stratification in clinical trials. Because they have different proportions of genetic alterations and outcomes, younger and older patients should be reported separately when using the ELN classification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2012.43.4738DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518729PMC
December 2012

Genome-wide methylation profiling in decitabine-treated patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2012 Sep 11;120(12):2466-74. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, 460 W 12th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

The outcome of older (≥ 60 years) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients is poor, and novel treatments are needed. In a phase 2 trial for older AML patients, low-dose (20 mg/m(2) per day for 10 days) decitabine, a DNA hypomethylating azanucleoside, produced 47% complete response rate with an excellent toxicity profile. To assess the genome-wide activity of decitabine, we profiled pretreatment and post treatment (day 25/course 1) methylomes of marrow samples from patients (n = 16) participating in the trial using deep-sequencing analysis of methylated DNA captured by methyl-binding protein (MBD2). Decitabine significantly reduced global methylation compared with pretreatment baseline (P = .001). Percent marrow blasts did not correlate with global methylation levels, suggesting that hypomethylation was related to the activity of decitabine rather than to a mere decrease in leukemia burden. Hypomethylation occurred predominantly in CpG islands and CpG island-associated regions (P ranged from .03 to .04) A significant concentration (P < .001) of the hypomehtylated CpG islands was found in chromosome subtelomeric regions, suggesting a differential activity of decitabine in distinct chromosome regions. Hypermethylation occurred much less frequently than hypomethylation and was associated with low CpG content regions. Decitabine-related methylation changes were concordant with those previously reported in distinct genes. In summary, our study supports the feasibility of methylome analyses as a pharmacodynamic endpoint for hypomethylating therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-05-429175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448258PMC
September 2012

RUNX1 mutations are associated with poor outcome in younger and older patients with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia and with distinct gene and MicroRNA expression signatures.

J Clin Oncol 2012 Sep 2;30(25):3109-18. Epub 2012 Jul 2.

The Ohio State University, Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1216 James Cancer Hospital, 300 West 10th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Purpose: To determine the association of RUNX1 mutations with therapeutic outcome in younger and older patients with primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) and with gene/microRNA expression signatures.

Patients And Methods: Younger (< 60 years; n = 175) and older (≥ 60 years; n = 225) patients with CN-AML treated with intensive cytarabine/anthracycline-based first-line therapy on Cancer and Leukemia Group B protocols were centrally analyzed for RUNX1 mutations by polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing and for established prognostic gene mutations. Gene/microRNA expression profiles were derived using microarrays.

Results: RUNX1 mutations were found in 8% and 16% of younger and older patients, respectively (P = .02). They were associated with ASXL1 mutations (P < .001) and inversely associated with NPM1 (P < .001) and CEBPA (P = .06) mutations. RUNX1-mutated patients had lower complete remission rates (P = .005 in younger; P = .006 in older) and shorter disease-free survival (P = .058 in younger; P < .001 in older), overall survival (P = .003 in younger; P < .001 in older), and event-free survival (P < .001 for younger and older) than RUNX1 wild-type patients. Because RUNX1 mutations were more common in older patients and almost never coexisted with NPM1 mutations, RUNX1 mutation-associated expression signatures were derived in older, NPM1 wild-type patients and featured upregulation of genes normally expressed in primitive hematopoietic cells and B-cell progenitors, including DNTT, BAALC, BLNK, CD109, RBPMS, and FLT3, and downregulation of promoters of myelopoiesis, including CEBPA and miR-223.

Conclusion: RUNX1 mutations are twice as common in older than younger patients with CN-AML and negatively impact outcome in both age groups. RUNX1-mutated blasts have molecular features of primitive hematopoietic and lymphoid progenitors, potentially leading to novel therapeutic approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2011.40.6652DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3732007PMC
September 2012

Stress hematopoiesis reveals abnormal control of self-renewal, lineage bias, and myeloid differentiation in Mll partial tandem duplication (Mll-PTD) hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells.

Blood 2012 Aug 26;120(5):1118-29. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Division of Pathology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.

One mechanism for disrupting the MLL gene in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is through partial tandem duplication (MLL-PTD); however, the mechanism by which MLL-PTD contributes to MDS and AML development and maintenance is currently unknown. Herein, we investigated hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) phenotypes of Mll-PTD knock-in mice. Although HSPCs (Lin(-)Sca1(+)Kit(+) (LSK)/SLAM(+) and LSK) in Mll(PTD/WT) mice are reduced in absolute number in steady state because of increased apoptosis, they have a proliferative advantage in colony replating assays, CFU-spleen assays, and competitive transplantation assays over wild-type HSPCs. The Mll(PTD/WT)-derived phenotypic short-term (ST)-HSCs/multipotent progenitors and granulocyte/macrophage progenitors have self-renewal capability, rescuing hematopoiesis by giving rise to long-term repopulating cells in recipient mice with an unexpected myeloid differentiation blockade and lymphoid-lineage bias. However, Mll(PTD/WT) HSPCs never develop leukemia in primary or recipient mice, suggesting that additional genetic and/or epigenetic defects are necessary for full leukemogenic transformation. Thus, the Mll-PTD aberrantly alters HSPCs, enhances self-renewal, causes lineage bias, and blocks myeloid differentiation. These findings provide a framework by which we can ascertain the underlying pathogenic role of MLL-PTD in the clonal evolution of human leukemia, which should facilitate improved therapies and patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-02-412379DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3412332PMC
August 2012

Mll partial tandem duplication and Flt3 internal tandem duplication in a double knock-in mouse recapitulates features of counterpart human acute myeloid leukemias.

Blood 2012 Aug 6;120(5):1130-6. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

The MLL-partial tandem duplication (PTD) associates with high-risk cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Concurrent presence of FLT3-internal tandem duplication (ITD) is observed in 25% of patients with MLL-PTD AML. However, mice expressing either Mll-PTD or Flt3-ITD do not develop AML, suggesting that 2 mutations are necessary for the AML phenotype. Thus, we generated a mouse expressing both Mll-PTD and Flt3-ITD. Mll(PTD/WT):Flt3(ITD/WT) mice developed acute leukemia with 100% penetrance, at a median of 49 weeks. As in human MLL-PTD and/or the FLT3-ITD AML, mouse blasts exhibited normal cytogenetics, decreased Mll-WT-to-Mll-PTD ratio, loss of the Flt3-WT allele, and increased total Flt3. Highlighting the adverse impact of FLT3-ITD dosage on patient survival, mice with homozygous Flt3-ITD alleles, Mll(PTD/WT):Flt3(ITD/ITD), demonstrated a nearly 30-week reduction in latency to overt AML. Here we demonstrate, for the first time, that Mll-PTD contributes to leukemogenesis as a gain-of-function mutation and describe a novel murine model closely recapitulating human AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-03-415067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3412333PMC
August 2012

Clinical and pharmacodynamic activity of bortezomib and decitabine in acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2012 Jun 7;119(25):6025-31. Epub 2012 May 7.

Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, B310 Starling-Loving Hall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

We recently reported promising clinical activity for a 10-day regimen of decitabine in older AML patients; high miR-29b expression associated with clinical response. Subsequent preclinical studies with bortezomib in AML cells have shown drug-induced miR-29b up-regulation, resulting in loss of transcriptional activation for several genes relevant to myeloid leukemogenesis, including DNA methyltransferases and receptor tyrosine kinases. Thus, a phase 1 trial of bortezomib and decitabine was developed. Nineteen poor-risk AML patients (median age 70 years; range, 32-84 years) enrolled. Induction with decitabine (20 mg/m(2) intravenously on days 1-10) plus bortezomib (escalated up to the target 1.3 mg/m(2) on days 5, 8, 12, and 15) was tolerable, but bortezomib-related neuropathy developed after repetitive cycles. Of previously untreated patients (age ≥ 65 years), 5 of 10 had CR (complete remission, n = 4) or incomplete CR (CRi, n = 1); 7 of 19 overall had CR/CRi. Pharmacodynamic analysis showed FLT3 down-regulation on day 26 of cycle 1 (P = .02). Additional mechanistic studies showed that FLT3 down-regulation was due to bortezomib-induced miR-29b up-regulation; this led to SP1 down-regulation and destruction of the SP1/NF-κB complex that transactivated FLT3. This study demonstrates the feasibility and preliminary clinical activity of decitabine plus bortezomib in AML and identifies FLT3 as a novel pharmacodynamic end point for future trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-03-413898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383015PMC
June 2012

miR-3151 interplays with its host gene BAALC and independently affects outcome of patients with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2012 Jul 23;120(2):249-58. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, 300 West 10th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

High BAALC expression levels are associated with poor outcome in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) patients. Recently, miR-3151 was discovered in intron 1 of BAALC. To evaluate the prognostic significance of miR-3151 expression levels and to gain insight into the biologic and prognostic interplay between miR-3151 and its host, miR-3151 and BAALC expression were measured in pretreatment blood of 179 CN-AML patients. Gene-expression profiling and miRNA-expression profiling were performed using microarrays. High miR-3151 expression was associated with shorter disease-free and overall survival, whereas high BAALC expression predicted failure of complete remission and shorter overall survival. Patients exhibiting high expression of both miR-3151 and BAALC had worse outcome than patients expressing low levels of either gene or both genes. In gene-expression profiling, high miR-3151 expressers showed down-regulation of genes involved in transcriptional regulation, posttranslational modification, and cancer pathways. Two genes, FBXL20 and USP40, were validated as direct miR-3151 targets. The results of the present study show that high expression of miR-3151 is an independent prognosticator for poor outcome in CN-AML and affects different outcome end points than its host gene, BAALC. The combination of both markers identified a patient subset with the poorest outcome. This interplay between an intronic miR and its host may have important biologic implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-02-408492DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3398762PMC
July 2012

Age-related prognostic impact of different types of DNMT3A mutations in adults with primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia.

J Clin Oncol 2012 Mar 30;30(7):742-50. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Purpose: To determine the frequency of DNMT3A mutations, their associations with clinical and molecular characteristics and outcome, and the associated gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML).

Patients And Methods: Four hundred fifteen previously untreated adults were analyzed for DNMT3A mutations and established prognostic gene mutations and expression markers. Gene- and microRNA-expression profiles were derived using microarrays.

Results: Younger (< 60 years; n = 181) and older (≥ 60 years; n = 234) patients had similar frequencies of DNMT3A mutations (35.3% v 33.3%). Missense mutations affecting arginine codon 882 (R882-DNMT3A) were more common (n = 92; 62%) than those affecting other codons (non-R882-DNMT3A). DNMT3A-mutated patients did not differ regarding complete remission rate, but had shorter disease-free survival (DFS; P = .03) and, by trend, overall survival (OS; P = .07) than DNMT3A-wild-type patients. In multivariable analyses, DNMT3A mutations remained associated with shorter DFS (P = .01), but not with shorter OS. When analyzed separately, the two DNMT3A mutation types had different significance by age group. Younger patients with non-R882-DNMT3A mutations had shorter DFS (P = .002) and OS (P = .02), whereas older patients with R882-DNMT3A mutations had shorter DFS (P = .005) and OS (P = .002) after adjustment for other clinical and molecular prognosticators. Gene- and microRNA-expression signatures did not accurately predict DNMT3A mutational status.

Conclusion: DNMT3A mutations are frequent in CN-AML, and their clinical significance seems to be age dependent. DNMT3A-R882 mutations are associated with adverse prognosis in older patients, and non-R882-DNMT3A mutations are associated with adverse prognosis in younger patients. Low accuracy of gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in predicting DNMT3A mutation status suggested that the role of these mutations in AML remains to be elucidated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2011.39.2092DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295550PMC
March 2012

ASXL1 mutations identify a high-risk subgroup of older patients with primary cytogenetically normal AML within the ELN Favorable genetic category.

Blood 2011 Dec 26;118(26):6920-9. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, USA.

The associations of mutations in the enhancer of trithorax and polycomb family gene ASXL1 with pretreatment patient characteristics, outcomes, and gene-/microRNA-expression profiles in primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) are unknown. We analyzed 423 adult patients for ASXL1 mutations, other prognostic gene mutations, and gene-/microRNA-expression profiles. ASXL1 mutations were 5 times more common in older (≥ 60 years) patients (16.2%) than those younger than 60 years (3.2%; P < .001). Among older patients, ASXL1 mutations associated with wild-type NPM1 (P < .001), absence of FLT3-internal tandem duplications (P = .002), mutated CEBPA (P = .01), and with inferior complete remission (CR) rate (P = .04), disease-free survival (DFS; P = .03), overall survival (OS; P = .006), and event-free survival (EFS; P = .002). Within the European LeukemiaNet (ELN) genetic categories of older CN-AML, ASXL1 mutations associated with inferior CR rate (P = .02), OS (P < .001), and EFS (P < .001) among ELN Favorable, but not among ELN Intermediate-I patients. Multivariable analyses confirmed associations of ASXL1 mutations with unfavorable CR rate (P = .03), DFS (P < .001), OS (P < .001), and EFS (P < .001) among ELN Favorable patients. We identified an ASXL1 mutation-associated gene-expression signature, but no microRNA-expression signature. This first study of ASXL1 mutations in primary CN-AML demonstrates that ASXL1-mutated older patients, particularly within the ELN Favorable group, have unfavorable outcomes and may be candidates for experimental treatment approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2011-08-368225DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3245212PMC
December 2011

Low expression of MN1 associates with better treatment response in older patients with de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2011 Oct 9;118(15):4188-98. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Department of Internal Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

Low MN1 expression bestows favorable prognosis in younger adults with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML), but its prognostic significance in older patients is unknown. We analyzed pretherapy MN1 expression in 140 older (≥ 60 years) de novo CN-AML patients treated on cytarabine/daunorubicin-based protocols. Low MN1 expressers had higher complete remission (CR) rates (P = .001), and longer overall survival (P = .03) and event-free survival (EFS; P = .004). In multivariable models, low MN1 expression was associated with better CR rates and EFS. The impact of MN1 expression on overall survival and EFS was predominantly in patients 70 years of age or older, with low MN1 expressers with mutated NPM1 having the best outcome. The impact of MN1 expression was also observed in the Intermediate-I, but not the Favorable group of the European LeukemiaNet classification, where low MN1 expressers had CR rates and EFS similar to those of Favorable group patients. MN1 expresser-status-associated gene- and microRNA-expression signatures revealed underexpression of drug resistance and adverse outcome predictors, and overexpression of HOX genes and HOX-gene-embedded microRNAs in low MN1 expressers. We conclude that low MN1 expression confers better prognosis in older CN-AML patients and may refine the European LeukemiaNet classification. Biologic features associated with MN1 expression may help identify new treatment targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2011-06-357764DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291490PMC
October 2011

Clinical outcome and gene- and microRNA-expression profiling according to the Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) single nucleotide polymorphism rs16754 in adult de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia: a Cancer and Leukemia Group B study.

Haematologica 2011 Oct 9;96(10):1488-95. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Background: The alleles of the Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) polymorphism rs16754 harbor adenine (A) or guanine (G). Recently, rs16754 has been reported to affect the outcome of patients with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia. To validate this finding, we investigated pretreatment features and outcome associated with rs16754 in a large cohort of patients with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia.

Design And Methods: Four-hundred and thirty-three intensively treated and molecularly characterized cytogenetically normal patients with de novo acute myeloid leukemia (18-83 years old) were analyzed for rs16754. To gain biological insights, we studied the gene- and microRNA-expression profiles for associations with rs16754.

Results: Three-hundred and nine (71%) patients were homozygous for A (WT1(AA)), 112 (26%) were heterozygous (WT1(AG)) and 12 (3%) were homozygous for G (WT1(GG)). For comparison with previous studies, we grouped WT1(AG) and WT1(GG) patients and compared them with WT1(AA) patients divided into younger (<60 years) and older (≥60 years) adults. We found no independent prognostic impact of WT1(AA). However, WT1(GG) patients, who were less often Caucasian than WT1(AG) (P=0.001) or WT1(AA) (P=0.008) patients, and had TET2 mutations more often than WT1(AG) (P=0.02) patients, had, among patients with FLT3-internal tandem duplication and/or NPM1 wild-type, better disease-free (P=0.02) and overall survival (P=0.04) than WT1(AA) and WT1(AG) patients combined. Unsupervised and supervised analyses of the gene- and microRNA-expression profiles suggested that there were no distinct expression patterns associated with any rs16754 genotype.

Conclusions: We did not observe the previously reported adverse impact of WT1(AA) but found favorable outcomes associated with the homozygous WT1(GG). Considering its low frequency, confirmatory studies are necessary. The biological significance of rs16754 remains questionable as no distinct expression profiles were associated with the genotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2011.041905DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3186310PMC
October 2011

TET2 mutations improve the new European LeukemiaNet risk classification of acute myeloid leukemia: a Cancer and Leukemia Group B study.

J Clin Oncol 2011 Apr 22;29(10):1373-81. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1216 James Cancer Hospital, 300 West 10th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Purpose: To determine the frequency of TET2 mutations, their associations with clinical and molecular characteristics and outcome, and the associated gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in patients with primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML).

Patients And Methods: Four-hundred twenty-seven patients with CN-AML were analyzed for TET2 mutations by polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing and for established prognostic gene mutations. Gene- and microRNA-expression profiles were derived using microarrays.

Results: TET2 mutations, found in 23% of patients, were associated with older age (P < .001) and higher pretreatment WBC (P = .04) compared with wild-type TET2 (TET2-wt). In the European LeukemiaNet (ELN) favorable-risk group (patients with CN-AML who have mutated CEBPA and/or mutated NPM1 without FLT3 internal tandem duplication [FLT3-ITD]), TET2-mutated patients had shorter event-free survival (EFS; P < .001) because of a lower complete remission (CR) rate (P = .007), and shorter disease-free survival (DFS; P = .003), and also had shorter overall survival (P = .001) compared with TET2-wt patients. TET2 mutations were not associated with outcomes in the ELN intermediate-I-risk group (CN-AML with wild-type CEBPA and wild-type NPM1 and/or FLT3-ITD). In multivariable models, TET2 mutations were associated with shorter EFS (P = .004), lower CR rate (P = .03), and shorter DFS (P = .05) only among favorable-risk CN-AML patients. We identified a TET2 mutation-associated gene-expression signature in favorable-risk but not in intermediate-I-risk patients and found distinct mutation-associated microRNA signatures in both ELN groups.

Conclusion: TET2 mutations improve the ELN molecular-risk classification in primary CN-AML because of their adverse prognostic impact in an otherwise favorable-risk patient subset. Our data suggest that these patients may be candidates for alternative therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2010.32.7742DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3084003PMC
April 2011

Prognostic significance of expression of a single microRNA, miR-181a, in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia: a Cancer and Leukemia Group B study.

J Clin Oncol 2010 Dec 15;28(36):5257-64. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

The Ohio State University, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Biomedical Research Tower, 460 W 12th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Purpose: To evaluate the prognostic significance of expression levels of a single microRNA, miR-181a, in the context of established molecular markers in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML), and to gain insight into the leukemogenic role of miR-181a.

Patients And Methods: miR-181a expression was measured in pretreatment marrow using Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center version 3.0 arrays in 187 younger (<60 years) adults with CN-AML. Presence of other molecular prognosticators was assessed centrally. A gene-expression profile associated with miR-181a expression was derived using microarrays and evaluated by Gene-Ontology analysis.

Results: Higher miR-181a expression associated with a higher complete remission (CR) rate (P=.04), longer overall survival (OS; P=.01) and a trend for longer disease-free survival (DFS; P=.09). The impact of miR-181a was most striking in poor molecular risk patients with FLT3-internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) and/or NPM1 wild-type, where higher miR-181a expression associated with a higher CR rate (P=.009), and longer DFS (P<.001) and OS (P<.001). In multivariable analyses, higher miR-181a expression was significantly associated with better outcome, both in the whole patient cohort and in patients with FLT3-ITD and/or NPM1 wild-type. These results were also validated in an independent set of older (≥60 years) patients with CN-AML. A miR-181a-associated gene-expression profile was characterized by enrichment of genes usually involved in innate immunity.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, we provide the first evidence that the expression of a single microRNA, miR-181a, is associated with clinical outcome of patients with CN-AML and may refine their molecular risk classification. Targeted treatments that increase endogenous levels of miR-181a might represent novel therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2010.29.2953DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018359PMC
December 2010

Dose escalation of lenalidomide in relapsed or refractory acute leukemias.

J Clin Oncol 2010 Nov 18;28(33):4919-25. Epub 2010 Oct 18.

Division of Hematology, The Ohio State University and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Purpose: Lenalidomide is effective in myeloma and low-risk myelodysplastic syndromes with deletion 5q. We report results of a phase I dose-escalation trial of lenalidomide in relapsed or refractory acute leukemia.

Patients And Methods: Thirty-one adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and four adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were enrolled. Lenalidomide was given orally at escalating doses of 25 to 75 mg daily on days 1 through 21 of 28-day cycles to determine the dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) and maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), as well as to provide pharmacokinetic and preliminary efficacy data.

Results: Patients had a median age of 63 years (range, 22 to 79 years) and a median of two prior therapies (range, one to four therapies). The DLT was fatigue; 50 mg/d was the MTD. Infectious complications were frequent. Plasma lenalidomide concentration increased proportionally with dose. In AML, five (16%) of 31 patients achieved complete remission (CR); three of three patients with cytogenetic abnormalities achieved cytogenetic CR (none with deletion 5q). Response duration ranged from 5.6 to 14 months. All responses occurred in AML with low presenting WBC count. No patient with ALL responded. Two of four patients who received lenalidomide as initial therapy for AML relapse after allogeneic transplantation achieved durable CR after development of cutaneous graft-versus-host disease, without donor leukocyte infusion.

Conclusion: Lenalidomide was safely escalated to 50 mg daily for 21 days, every 4 weeks, and was active with relatively low toxicity in patients with relapsed/refractory AML. Remissions achieved after transplantation suggest a possible immunomodulatory effect of lenalidomide, and results provide enthusiasm for further studies in AML, either alone or in combination with conventional agents or other immunotherapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2010.30.3339DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020696PMC
November 2010

BAALC and ERG expression levels are associated with outcome and distinct gene and microRNA expression profiles in older patients with de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia: a Cancer and Leukemia Group B study.

Blood 2010 Dec 14;116(25):5660-9. Epub 2010 Sep 14.

Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

BAALC and ERG expression levels are prognostic markers in younger (< 60 years) cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) adults; their prognostic impact in older (≥ 60 years) patients requires further investigation. We evaluated pretreatment expression of BAALC and ERG in 158 de novo patients treated on cytarabine/daunorubicin-based protocols. The patients were also characterized for other established molecular prognosticators. Low BAALC and ERG expression levels were associated with better outcome in univariable and multivariable analyses. Expression levels of both BAALC and ERG were the only factors significantly associated with overall survival upon multivariable analysis. To gain biological insights, we derived gene expression signatures associated with BAALC and ERG expression in older CN-AML patients. Furthermore, we derived the first microRNA expression signatures associated with the expression of these 2 genes. In low BAALC expressers, genes associated with undifferentiated hematopoietic precursors and unfavorable outcome predictors were down-regulated, whereas HOX genes and HOX-gene-embedded microRNAs were up-regulated. Low ERG expressers presented with down-regulation of genes involved in the DNA-methylation machinery, and up-regulation of miR-148a, which targets DNMT3B. We conclude that in older CN-AML patients, low BAALC and ERG expression associates with better outcome and distinct gene and microRNA expression signatures that could aid in identifying new targets and novel therapeutic strategies for older patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2010-06-290536DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3031412PMC
December 2010