De novo UBE2A mutations are recurrently acquired during chronic myeloid leukemia progression and interfere with myeloid differentiation pathways.
Magistroni V., Mauri M., D'Aliberti D., Mezzatesta C., Crespiatico I., Nava M., Fontana D., Sharma N., Parker W., Schreiber A., Yeung D., Pirola A., Redaelli S., Massimino L., Wang P., Khandelwal P., Citterio S., Viltadi M., Bombelli S., Rigolio R., Perego R., Boultwood J., Morotti A., Saglio G., Kim D-W., Branford S., Gambacorti-Passerini C., Piazza R.
Despite the advent of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, a proportion of chronic myeloid leukemia patients in chronic phase fails to respond to Imatinib or to second generation inhibitors and progress to blast crisis. Limited improvements in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for chronic myeloid leukemia transformation from chronic phase to the aggressive blast crisis were achieved until now. We present here a massive parallel sequencing analysis of 10 blast crisis samples and of the corresponding autologous chronic phase controls which reveals, for the first time, recurrent mutations affecting the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2A gene (UBE2A, formerly RAD6A). Additional analyses on a cohort of 24 blast crisis, 41 chronic phase as well as 40 acute myeloid leukemia and 38 atypical chronic myeloid leukemia patients at onset confirmed that UBE2A mutations are specifically acquired during chronic myeloid leukemia progression with a frequency of 16.7% in advanced phases. In vitro studies show that the mutations here described cause a decrease in UBE2A activity, leading to an impairment of myeloid differentiation in chronic myeloid leukemia cells.