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Genetic characterization of B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia: a hierarchical prognostic model involving MYC and TP53 abnormalities - RNA-seq

B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (B-PLL) is a rare disease, whose molecular pathology is largely unknown. We report here the cytogenetic and molecular findings in a large series of 34 B-PLL. Karyotype (K) was complex (≥3 abnormalities) in 73%, and highly complex (HCK≥5) in 45%. The most frequent chromosomal aberrations were: translocation targeting the MYC gene [t(MYC)] (62%), 17p deletion including TP53 gene (38%), trisomy 18/18q (30%), 13q14 deletion (29%), trisomy 3 (24%), trisomy 12 (24%) and 8p deletion (23%). Whole-Exome Sequencing performed in 16 patients revealed recurrent mutations in TP53 (6/16, 38%), MYD88 (n=4), BCOR (n=4), MYC (n=3), SF3B1 (n=3), FAT1 (n=3), SETD2 (n=2), CHD2 (n=2), CXCR4 (n=2) and BCLAF1 (n=2). The main group of patients (21/34, 62%) had a t(MYC) associated with a higher percentage of prolymphocytes (p=0.03), CD38 expression (p<0.001), lower K complexity (p=0.0004), mutations in MYC and in genes involved in RNA metabolism and chromatin remodeling. Principal component analysis of gene expression data showed that patients with t(MYC) clustered together. A second group with MYC gain (5/34, 15%), was associated with HCK≥5 (p=0,01) and trisomy 3 (p=0,008). Altogether, 26/34 patients (76%) had a MYC activation, translocation or gain, that were mutually exclusive. We identified 3 distinct cytogenetic prognostic groups (p=0.0006): lower risk: absence of MYC activation (median not reached); intermediate risk: MYC activation without del17p (125 months); high risk: MYC activation + del17p (11 months). Our results show that cytogenetic analysis is a useful diagnostic tool in B-PLL that improves prognostic stratification.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001004412 Illumina HiSeq 2000 12