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Exp Hematol. 2005 Jul;33(7):719-37.

Converging pathways in leukemogenesis and stem cell self-renewal.

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James Ewing Laboratory of Developmental Hematopoiesis, Cell Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.


Studies over the last 40 years have led to an understanding of the hierarchical organization of the hematopoietic system and the role of the pluripotential hematopoietic stem cell. Earlier recognition of the importance of bone marrow hematopoietic microenvironments has evolved into the recognition of specific niches that regulate stem cell pool size, proliferative status, mobilization, and differentiation. The discovery of the role of multiple hematopoietic growth factors and their receptors in the orchestration of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation has been followed by recognition of the importance of the Notch and Wnt pathways. The homeobox family of transcription factors serve as master regulators of development and are increasingly found to be critical regulators of hematopoiesis. In parallel with this understanding of normal hematopoiesis has come a recognition that stem cell dysregulation at various levels is involved in leukemogenesis. Furthermore, the progression from chronic leukemia or myelodysplasia to acute leukemia involves accumulation of at least two mutational events that lead to enhancement of stem cell proliferation, or acquisition of stem cell behavior by a progenitor cell, coupled with maturation inhibition. Translocations resulting in development of oncogenic fusion genes are found in AML and the transforming potential of two of these, AML1-ETO and NUP98-HOXA9, will be discussed. Secondary, constitutively activating mutations of the Flt3 and c-kit receptors and of K- and N-ras are found with high frequency in AML, and the transforming potential of mutated FLT3 and the role of STAT5A activation in human stem cell transformation will be reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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