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Nat Commun. 2015 Nov 26;6:8806. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9806.

Whole-exome and targeted sequencing identify ROBO1 and ROBO2 mutations as progression-related drivers in myelodysplastic syndromes.

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Department of Hematology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai 200233, China.


The progressive mechanism underlying myelodysplastic syndrome remains unknown. Here we identify ROBO1 and ROBO2 as novel progression-related somatic mutations using whole-exome and targeted sequencing in 6 of 16 (37.5%) paired MDS patients with disease progression. Further deep sequencing detects 20 (10.4%) patients with ROBO mutations in a cohort of 193 MDS patients. In addition, copy number loss and loss of heterogeneity (LOH) of ROBO1 and ROBO2 are frequently observed in patients with progression or carrying ROBO mutations. In in vitro experiments, overexpression of ROBO1 or ROBO2 produces anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects in leukaemia cells. However, this effect was lost in ROBO mutants and ROBO-SLIT2 signalling is impaired. Multivariate analysis shows that ROBO mutations are independent factors for predicting poor survival. These findings demonstrate a novel contribution of ROBO mutations to the pathogenesis of MDS and highlight a key role for ROBO-SLIT2 signalling in MDS disease progression.

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