CDKN2B downregulation and other genetic characteristics in T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia.


Department of Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. [Email]


We identified principal genetic alterations in 97.1% (99/102) of patients with T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) using integrative genetic analyses, including massive parallel sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). A total of 133 mutations were identified in the following genes in descending order: NOTCH1 (66.7%), FBXW7 (19.6%), PHF6 (15.7%), RUNX1 (12.7%), NRAS (10.8%), and DNMT3A (9.8%). Copy number alterations were most frequently detected in CDKN2B, CDKN2A, and genes on 9p21.3 in T-ALL (45.1%). Gene expression data demonstrated the downregulation of CDKN2B in most cases of T-ALL, whereas CDKN2A downregulation was mainly restricted to deletions. Additional quantitative methylation analysis demonstrated that CDKN2B downregulation stemmed from deletion and hypermethylation. Analysis of 64 patients with CDKN2B hypermethylation indicated an association with an older age of onset and early T cell precursor ALL, which involved very early arrest of T cell differentiation. Genes associated with methylation and myeloid neoplasms, including DNMT3A and NRAS, were more commonly mutated in T-ALL with CDKN2B hypermethylation. In particular, a CDKN2B biallelic deletion or high methylation level (≥45%), the age of onset, and the GATA3 and SH2B3 mutations were factors associated with a poor prognosis. This study clarifies that one of the most important genetic events in T-ALL, namely, CDKN2B downregulation, occurs mechanistically via deletion and hypermethylation. Different susceptible genetic backgrounds exist based on the CDKN2B downregulation mechanism.