Identification of novel genetic alterations in pediatric cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia by next-generation sequencing

Togni, Marco (2015) Identification of novel genetic alterations in pediatric cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia by next-generation sequencing, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Oncologia e patologia sperimentale, 27 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6802.
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Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a molecularly heterogeneous disease that arises from genetic alterations in pathways that regulate self-renewal and myeloid differentiation. While the majority of patients carry recurrent chromosomal translocations, almost 20% of childhood AML do not show any recognizable cytogenetic alteration and are defined as cytogenetically normal (CN)-AML. CN-AML patients have always showed a great variability in response to therapy and overall outcome, underlining the presence of unknown genetic changes, not detectable by conventional analyses, but relevant for pathogenesis, and outcome of AML. The development of novel genome-wide techniques such as next-generation sequencing, have tremendously improved our ability to interrogate the cancer genome. Based on this background, the aim of this research study was to investigate the mutational landscape of pediatric CN-AML patients negative for all the currently known somatic mutations reported in AML through whole-transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq). RNA-seq performed on diagnostic leukemic blasts from 19 pediatric CN-AML cases revealed a considerable incidence of cryptic chromosomal rearrangements, with the identification of 21 putative fusion genes. Several of the fusion genes that were identified in this study are recurrent and might have a prognostic and/or therapeutic relevance. A paradigm of that is the CBFA2T3-GLIS2 fusion, which has been demonstrated to be a common alteration in pediatric CN-AML, predicting poor outcome. Important findings have been also obtained in the identification of novel therapeutic targets. On one side, the identification of NUP98-JARID1A fusion suggests the use of disulfiram; on the other, here we describe alteration-activating tyrosine kinases, providing functional data supporting the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors to specifically inhibit leukemia cells. This study provides new insights in the knowledge of genetic alterations underlying pediatric AML, defines novel prognostic markers and putative therapeutic targets, and prospectively ensures a correct risk stratification and risk-adapted therapy also for the “all-neg” AML subgroup.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Togni, Marco
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
cytogenetically-normal AML, pediatric leukemia, RNA-seq
Data di discussione
11 Maggio 2015

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