Alterations in DNA methylation/demethylation intermediates predict clinical outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

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Abstract

Cytosine derivative dysregulations represent important epigenetic modifications whose impact on the clinical outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is incompletely understood. Hence, global levels of 5-methylcytosine (5-mCyt), 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmCyt), 5-carboxylcytosine (5-CaCyt) and 5-hydroxymethyluracil were tested in purified B cells from CLL patients (n = 55) and controls (n = 17). The DNA methylation 'writers' (DNA methyltransferases [DNMT1/3A/3B]), 'readers' (methyl-CpG-binding domain [MBD2/4]), 'editors' (teneleven translocation [TET1/2/3]) and 'modulators' (SAT1) were also evaluated. Accordingly, patients were stratified into three subgroups. First, a subgroup with a global deficit in cytosine derivatives characterized by hyperlymphocytosis, reduced median progression free survival (PFS = 52 months) and shorter treatment free survival (TFS = 112 months) was identified. In this subgroup, major epigenetic modifications were highlighted including a reduction of 5-mCyt, 5-hmCyt, 5-CaCyt associated with DNMT3A, MBD2/4 and TET1/2 downregulation. Second, the cytosine derivative analysis revealed a subgroup with a partial deficit (PFS = 84, TFS = 120 months), mainly affecting DNA demethylation (5-hmCyt reduction, SAT1 induction). Third, a subgroup epigenetically similar to controls was identified (PFS and TFS > 120 months). The prognostic impact of stratifying CLL patients within three epigenetic subgroups was confirmed in a validation cohort. In conclusion, our results suggest that dysregulations of cytosine derivative regulators represent major events acquired during CLL progression and are independent from IGHV mutational status.

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Bagacean, C., Tempescul, A., Le Dantec, C., Bordron, A., Mohr, A., Saad, H., … Renaudineau, Y. (2017). Alterations in DNA methylation/demethylation intermediates predict clinical outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Oncotarget, 8(39), 65699–65716. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20081

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