Blood 2013 Feb 20;121(7):1175-83. Epub 2012 Nov 20.
Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Uridine diphospho glucuronosyltransferase 2B17 (UGT2B17) glucuronidates androgens and xenobiotics including certain drugs. The UGT2B17 gene shows a remarkable copy number variation (CNV), which predisposes for solid tumors and influences drug response. Here, we identify a yet undescribed UGT2B17 mRNA overexpression in poor-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In total, 320 CLL patients and 449 healthy donors were analyzed. High (above median) UGT2B17 expression was associated with established CLL poor prognostic factors and resulted in shorter treatment-free and overall survival (hazard ratio ([death] 2.18; 95% CI 1.18-4.01; P = .013). The prognostic impact of mRNA expression was more significant than that of UGT2B17 CNV. UGT2B17 mRNA levels in primary CLL samples directly correlated with functional glucuronidation activity toward androgens and the anticancer drug vorinostat (R > 0.9, P < .001). After treatment with fludarabine containing regimens UGT2B17 was up-regulated particularly in poor responders (P = .030). We observed an exclusive involvement of the 2B17 isoform within the UGT protein family. Gene expression profiling of a stable UGT2B17 knockdown in the CLL cell line MEC-1 demonstrated a significant involvement in key cellular processes. These findings establish a relevant role of UGT2B17 in CLL with functional consequences and potential therapeutic implications.