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Targeted sequencing aids in identifying clonality in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia

Sang Mee Hwang, Sung-Min Kim, Youngwon Nam, Jinhyun Kim, Sungsik Kim, Yong-Oon Ahn, Yong Park, Sung-Soo Yoon, Sue Shin, Sunghoon Kwon, Dong Soon Lee
Leukemia Research 2019, 84: 106190
31377458
Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) typically shows monocytosis in the peripheral blood (PB), which must be differentiated from reactive monocytosis. To determine the clonality of CMML, we performed molecular and cytogenetic analysis in Korean patients. To investigate whether monocytes in the PB harbored clonal mutational changes, we performed single-cell sequencing after selecting monocytes, neutrophils, and lymphocytes by morphology-aided laser microdissection. Targeted sequencing was performed in 35 patients with CMML with 41 bone marrow samples. Single-cell analysis was performed in two cases. Most (94.3%) patients harbored at least one variant, in genes considered as potential therapeutic targets, while cytogenetic aberrations occurred in only 28.6% of cases. ASXL1 (54.3%), SRSF2 (37.1%), NRAS (31.4%), and TET2 (25.7%) were frequently mutated, with lower frequencies of TET2 mutation and higher frequencies of NRAS, DNMT3A (17.1%), and NPM1 (11.4%) mutations compared to in previous studies of Caucasians. Patients with SETBP1 mutation and those with more than two variants showed poorer survival than those without mutation (P < 0.001 and P = 0.007, respectively). Most (70.8%) variants were detected at diagnosis and follow-up with no significant differences in variant allele frequency, warranting sequencing during follow-up if diagnostic samples were unavailable. Single-cell analysis revealed clonal monocytes with mutations, and the same mutations were also identified in lymphocytes and neutrophils. Targeted sequencing aided in clonality detection in most patients with CMML and single-cell sequencing facilitated identification of clonal monocytes and the co-existence of mutations in non-myeloid cells, suggesting that certain mutations are acquired by pluripotent stem cells.

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