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Leuk Res. 2017 May;56:7-12. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2017.01.027. Epub 2017 Jan 23.

Coexisting and cooperating mutations in NPM1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.

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Department of Pathology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA; ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT, USA. Electronic address:
ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA; ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


NPM1 insertion mutations represent a common recurrent genetic abnormality in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. The frequency of these mutations varies from approximately 30% overall up to 50% in patients with a normal karyotype. Several recent studies have exploited advances in massively parallel sequencing technology to shed light on the complex genomic landscape of AML. We hypothesize that variant allele fraction (VAF) data derived from massively parallel sequencing studies may provide further insights into the clonal architecture and pathogenesis of NPM1-driven leukemogenesis. Diagnostic peripheral blood or bone marrow samples from NPM1-mutated AML patients (n=120) were subjected to targeted sequencing using a panel of fifty-seven genes known to be commonly mutated in myeloid malignancies. NPM1 mutations were always accompanied by additional mutations and NPM1 had the highest VAF in only one case. Nearly all NPM1-mutated AML patients showed concurrent mutations in genes involved in regulation of DNA methylation (DNMT3A, TET2, IDH1, IDH2), RNA splicing (SRSF2, SF3B1), or in the cohesin complex (RAD21, SMC1A, SMC3, STAG2). Mutations in these genes had higher median VAFs that were higher (40% or greater) than the co-existing NPM1 mutations (median VAF 16.8%). Mutations associated with cell signaling pathways (FLT3, NRAS, and PTPN11) are also frequently encountered in NPM1-mutated AML cases, but had relatively low VAFs (7.0-11.9%). No cases of NPM1-mutated AML with a concurrent IDH2R172 mutation were observed, suggesting that these variants are mutually exclusive. Overall, these data suggest that NPM1 mutations are a secondary or late event in the pathogenesis of AML and are preceded by founder mutations in genes that may be associated with recently described preclinical states such as clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential or clonal cytopenias of undetermined significance.


Acute myeloid leukemia; Massively parallel sequencing; Mutation; Myeloid malignancies; NPM1

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