Subtype-specific patterns of molecular mutations in acute myeloid leukemia

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Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can be grouped into morphologically or genetically defined subtypes. Today, the AML phenotype-genotype associations, that is, FAB/WHO (French-American-British/World Health Organization) definitions and recurrent molecular mutations, are not fully understood. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of molecular mutations on the AML differentiation stage by molecular profiling of 4373 adult de novo AML patients in 7 cytomorphological subtypes. We investigated mutations in 20 genes, including myeloid transcription factors (CEBPA, RUNX1), tumor suppressors (TP53, WT1), DNA modifiers (DNMT3A, IDH1/2, TET2), chromatin modifiers (ASXL1, MLL), signal transduction genes (FLT3, KRAS, NRAS) and NPM1. The most frequently mutated genes per cytomorphological subtype were RUNX1 in M0 (43%), NPM1 in M1 (42%), DNMT3A in M2 (26%), NPM1 in M4 (57%), M5a (49%) and M5b (70%) and TP53 in M6 (36%). Although some gene mutations were frequent in several cytomorphological subtypes, a series of associations of co-occurring mutations with distinct phenotypes were identified for molecularly defined subcohorts. FLT3, NPM1 and WT1 mutations were associated with an immature phenotype in myeloblastic AML, whereas other combinations involving ASXL1, RUNX1, MLL-PTD, CEBPA or KRAS were more frequent in myeloblastic AML with maturation. Within the NPM1 mutated subcohort, ASXL1 mutations were significantly associated with a monoblastic differentiation and DNMT3A mutations with a monocytic phenotype.

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