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Haematologica. 2019 Feb;104(2):277-287. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2018.194258. Epub 2018 Sep 6.

Comprehensive genetic diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia by next-generation sequencing.

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Department of Hematology, Oncology and Immunology, Philipps-University Marburg, and University Hospital Gießen and Marburg, Marburg, Germany.
Databionics, Department of Mathematics and Informatics, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine, Frankfurt (Oder) General Hospital, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany.
Institute for Biomedical Aging Research, Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck, Austria.
MLL, Munich Leukemia Laboratory, Germany.
Department of Hematology, Oncology and Immunology, Philipps-University Marburg, and University Hospital Gießen and Marburg, Marburg, Germany


Differential induction therapy of all subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia other than acute promyelocytic leukemia is impeded by the long time required to complete complex and diverse cytogenetic and molecular genetic analyses for risk stratification or targeted treatment decisions. Here, we describe a reliable, rapid and sensitive diagnostic approach that combines karyotyping and mutational screening in a single, integrated, next-generation sequencing assay. Numerical karyotyping was performed by low coverage whole genome sequencing followed by copy number variation analysis using a novel algorithm based on in silico-generated reference karyotypes. Translocations and DNA variants were examined by targeted resequencing of fusion transcripts and mutational hotspot regions using commercially available kits and analysis pipelines. For the identification of FLT3 internal tandem duplications and KMT2A partial tandem duplications, we adapted previously described tools. In a validation cohort including 22 primary patients' samples, 9/9 numerically normal karyotypes were classified correctly and 30/31 (97%) copy number variations reported by classical cytogenetics and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis were uncovered by our next-generation sequencing karyotyping approach. Predesigned fusion and mutation panels were validated exemplarily on leukemia cell lines and a subset of patients' samples and identified all expected genomic alterations. Finally, blinded analysis of eight additional patients' samples using our comprehensive assay accurately reproduced reference results. Therefore, calculated karyotyping by low coverage whole genome sequencing enables fast and reliable detection of numerical chromosomal changes and, in combination with panel-based fusion-and mutation screening, will greatly facilitate implementation of subtype-specific induction therapies in acute myeloid leukemia.

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