MacroH2A histone variants maintain nuclear organization and heterochromatin architecture.J. Cell. Sci. 10 Mar 2017, . Epub 10 Mar 2017
Genetic loss-of-function studies in development, cancer and somatic cell reprogramming have suggested that the group of macroH2A histone variants might function through stabilizing the differentiated state by a yet unknown mechanism. Here, we present results demonstrating that macroH2A variants have a major function in maintaining nuclear organization and heterochromatin architecture. Specifically, we find that a substantial amount of macroH2A is associated with heterochromatic repeat sequences. We further identify macroH2A on sites of interstitial heterochromatin decorated by H3K9me3. Loss of macroH2A leads to major defects in nuclear organization including reduced nuclear circularity, disruption of nucleoli and a global loss of dense heterochromatin. Domains formed by repeat sequences when depleted of macroH2A are disorganized, expanded and fragmented and mildly re-expressed. On the molecular level we find that macroH2A is required for the interaction of repeat sequences with the nucleostructural protein Lamin B1. Taken together our results argue that a major function of macroH2A histone variants is to link nucleosome composition to higher order chromatin architecture.More information
Inhibition of serotonin receptor type 1 in acute myeloid leukemia impairs leukemia stem cell functionality: a promising novel therapeutic target.Leukemia 10 Mar 2017, . Epub 10 Mar 2017
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a clinically and molecularly heterogeneous neoplasia with poor outcome, organized as a hierarchy initiated and maintained by a sub-population with differentiation and self-renewal capacities called leukemia stem cells (LSCs). Although currently used chemotherapy is capable of initially reducing the tumor burden producing a complete remission, most patients will ultimately relapse and will succumb to their disease. As such, new therapeutic strategies are needed. AML cells differentially expressed serotonin receptor type 1 (HTR1) compared with healthy blood cells and the most primitive hematopoietic fraction; in fact, HTR1B expression on AML patient samples correlated with clinical outcome. Inhibition of HTR1s activated the apoptosis program, induced differentiation and reduced the clonogenic capacity, while minimal effect was observed on healthy blood cells. In vivo regeneration capacity of primary AML samples was disrupted upon inhibition of HTR1. The self-renewal capacity remaining in AML cells upon in vivo treatment was severely reduced as demonstrated by serial transplantation. Thus, treatment with HTR1 antagonists showed antileukemia effect, especially anti-LSC activity while sparing healthy blood cells. Our results highlight the importance of HTR1 in leukemogenesis and LSC survival and identify this receptor family as a new target for therapy in AML with prognostic value.Leukemia advance online publication, 10 March 2017; doi:10.1038/leu.2017.52.More information
Blinatumomab versus Chemotherapy for Advanced Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.N. Engl. J. Med. 2 Mar 2017, 376 (9) 836-847.
Background Blinatumomab, a bispecific monoclonal antibody construct that enables CD3-positive T cells to recognize and eliminate CD19-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) blasts, was approved for use in patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL on the basis of single-group trials that showed efficacy and manageable toxic effects. Methods In this multi-institutional phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned adults with heavily pretreated B-cell precursor ALL, in a 2:1 ratio, to receive either blinatumomab or standard-of-care chemotherapy. The primary end point was overall survival. Results Of the 405 patients who were randomly assigned to receive blinatumomab (271 patients) or chemotherapy (134 patients), 376 patients received at least one dose. Overall survival was significantly longer in the blinatumomab group than in the chemotherapy group. The median overall survival was 7.7 months in the blinatumomab group and 4.0 months in the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio for death with blinatumomab vs. chemotherapy, 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.55 to 0.93; P=0.01). Remission rates within 12 weeks after treatment initiation were significantly higher in the blinatumomab group than in the chemotherapy group, both with respect to complete remission with full hematologic recovery (34% vs. 16%, P<0.001) and with respect to complete remission with full, partial, or incomplete hematologic recovery (44% vs. 25%, P<0.001). Treatment with blinatumomab resulted in a higher rate of event-free survival than that with chemotherapy (6-month estimates, 31% vs. 12%; hazard ratio for an event of relapse after achieving a complete remission with full, partial, or incomplete hematologic recovery, or death, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.71; P<0.001), as well as a longer median duration of remission (7.3 vs. 4.6 months). A total of 24% of the patients in each treatment group underwent allogeneic stem-cell transplantation. Adverse events of grade 3 or higher were reported in 87% of the patients in the blinatumomab group and in 92% of the patients in the chemotherapy group. Conclusions Treatment with blinatumomab resulted in significantly longer overall survival than chemotherapy among adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL. (Funded by Amgen; TOWER ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02013167 .).More information
Immunophenotypic, cytogenetic, and mutational characterization of cell lines derived from myelodysplastic syndrome patients after progression to acute myeloid leukemia.Genes Chromosomes Cancer Mar 2017, 56 (3) 243-252. Epub 21 Nov 2016
Leukemia cell lines have been widely used in the hematology field to unravel mechanistic insights and to test new therapeutic strategies. Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) comprise a heterogeneous group of diseases that are characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis and frequent progress to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A few cell lines have been established from MDS patients after progression to AML but their characterization is incomplete. Here we provide a detailed description of the immunophenotypic profile of the MDS-derived cell lines SKK-1, SKM-1, F-36P; and MOLM-13. Specifically, we analyzed a comprehensive panel of markers that are currently applied in the diagnostic routine for myeloid disorders. To provide high-resolution genetic data comprising copy number alterations and losses of heterozygosity we performed whole genome single nucleotide polymorphism-based arrays and included the cell line OHN-GM that harbors the frequent chromosome arm 5q deletion. Furthermore, we assessed the mutational status of 83 disease-relevant genes. Our results provide a resource to the MDS and AML field that allows researchers to choose the best-matching cell line for their functional studies. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.More information