Gene Summary

Gene:CD48; CD48 molecule
Aliases: BCM1, BLAST, hCD48, mCD48, BLAST1, SLAMF2, MEM-102
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the CD2 subfamily of immunoglobulin-like receptors which includes SLAM (signaling lymphocyte activation molecules) proteins. The encoded protein is found on the surface of lymphocytes and other immune cells, dendritic cells and endothelial cells, and participates in activation and differentiation pathways in these cells. The encoded protein does not have a transmembrane domain, however, but is held at the cell surface by a GPI anchor via a C-terminal domain which maybe cleaved to yield a soluble form of the receptor. Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2011]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:CD48 antigen
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (17)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (1)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Signal Transduction
  • Bone Marrow
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Gene Expression
  • NF-kappa B
  • Leukaemia
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • X Chromosome Inactivation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Tumor Escape
  • Apyrase
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Mutation
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Cell Line
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • CD Antigens
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Chromosome 1
  • Down-Regulation
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Uridine Diphosphate N-Acetylglucosamine
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Cell Surface Receptors
  • Tumor Virus Infections
  • Natural Killer Cells
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols
  • Cell Membrane
  • Up-Regulation
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Survival Rate
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections
Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CD48 (cancer-related)

Chereda B, Melo JV
Natural course and biology of CML.
Ann Hematol. 2015; 94 Suppl 2:S107-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a myeloproliferative disorder arising in the haemopoietic stem cell (HSC) compartment. This disease is characterised by a reciprocal t(9;22) chromosomal translocation, resulting in the formation of the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome containing the BCR-ABL1 gene. As such, diagnosis and monitoring of disease involves detection of BCR-ABL1. It is the BCR-ABL1 protein, in particular its constitutively active tyrosine kinase activity, that forges the pathogenesis of CML. This aberrant kinase signalling activates downstream targets that reprogram the cell to cause uncontrolled proliferation and results in myeloid hyperplasia and 'indolent' symptoms of chronic phase (CP) CML. Without successful intervention, the disease will progress into blast crisis (BC), resembling an acute leukaemia. This advanced disease stage takes on an aggressive phenotype and is almost always fatal. The cell biology of CML is also centred on BCR-ABL1. The presence of BCR-ABL1 can explain virtually all the cellular features of the leukaemia (enhanced cell growth, inhibition of apoptosis, altered cell adhesion, growth factor independence, impaired genomic surveillance and differentiation). This article provides an overview of the clinical and cell biology of CML, and highlights key findings and unanswered questions essential for understanding this disease.

Zhang X, Pan J
A novel clonal t(1;4)(p36.1;q31) translocation in acute promyelocytic leukaemia.
J Clin Pathol. 2015; 68(5):391-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
The majority of patients with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) carry the hallmark t(15;17)(q22;q21) translocation, involving the promyelocytic leukaemia/retinoic acid receptor-α (PML/RARα) fusion gene, and by sensitivity of blast cells to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and/or arsenic trioxide therapy. The incidence and prognostic significance of additional chromosomal abnormalities in APL are still obscure. We reported a patient with APL with PML/RARα and clonal t(1;4)(p36.1;q31) positive, but t(15;17)(q22;q21) negative. She was initially treated with ATRA and idarubicin and got complete remission. Our report supports the suggestion that there are no differences in the clinical outcome between APL cases with classical t(15;17)(q22;q21) and those with additional chromosomal abnormality t(1;4)(p36.1;q31). To our knowledge, this is the first report of a patient with APL without classical t(15;17)(q22;q21), showing an additional clonal t(1;4)(p36.1;q31) and involving PML/RARα fusion gene. It will help us to understand the role of the clonal t(1;4)(p36.1;q31) translocation in the pathogenesis of APL when relevant genes involved in the clonal translocation have been identified.

Baba M, Hata T, Tsushima H, et al.
The level of bone marrow WT1 message is a useful marker to differentiate myelodysplastic syndromes with low blast percentage from cytopenia due to other reasons.
Intern Med. 2015; 54(5):445-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of hematological neoplasms associated with ineffective hematopoiesis and that transform to acute leukemia. Distinguishing MDS from other cytopenias is sometimes difficult even for trained hematologists. WT1, the gene mutated in Wilms' tumor, was found expressed in acute myeloid leukemia and MDS. The amount of WT1 in peripheral blood and bone marrow (BM) is low in low-risk MDS subtypes, and is high in high-risk MDS subtypes. However, the role of WT1 in the differential diagnosis between MDS and other diseases showing cytopenia has not been fully addressed. The present study evaluated whether WT1 expression level can assist in the differential diagnosis of MDS from other cytopenias.
METHODS: The amount of WT1 message was evaluated among 56 MDS patients and 47 patients with cytopenia for various other reasons (cytopenia VR) at the Nagasaki University Hospital.
RESULTS: The level of WT1 was significantly related to the percentage of blasts in BM among MDS cases, and the type of French-American-British classification of MDS; refractory anemia (RA) cases showed significantly lower WT1 level than patients with RA with excess blasts. WT1 level was significantly related to the prognostic risk categories of MDS by the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) and the revised IPSS. Although the blast percentage in the BM of RA and cytopenia VR were both less than 5%, there was a significant difference in the level of WT1 between MDS and cytopenia VR.
CONCLUSION: WT1 might be a good marker to differentiate low blast percentage MDS and cytopenia VR.

Mussai F, Egan S, Higginbotham-Jones J, et al.
Arginine dependence of acute myeloid leukemia blast proliferation: a novel therapeutic target.
Blood. 2015; 125(15):2386-96 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common acute leukemias in adults and children, yet significant numbers of patients relapse and die of disease. In this study, we identify the dependence of AML blasts on arginine for proliferation. We show that AML blasts constitutively express the arginine transporters CAT-1 and CAT-2B, and that the majority of newly diagnosed patients' blasts have deficiencies in the arginine-recycling pathway enzymes argininosuccinate synthase and ornithine transcarbamylase, making them arginine auxotrophic. BCT-100, a pegylated human recombinant arginase, leads to a rapid depletion in extracellular and intracellular arginine concentrations, resulting in arrest of AML blast proliferation and a reduction in AML engraftment in vivo. BCT-100 as a single agent causes significant death of AML blasts from adults and children, and acts synergistically in combination with cytarabine. Using RNA sequencing, 20 further candidate genes which correlated with resistance have been identified. Thus, AML blasts are dependent on arginine for survival and proliferation, as well as depletion of arginine with BCT-100 of clinical value in the treatment of AML.

Bansal P, Ghalaut VS, Sharma TK, et al.
Status of leptin in MBCR-ABL p210 positive chronic myeloid leukemia patients before and after imatinib therapy: a conflicting scenario.
Clin Lab. 2014; 60(11):1845-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a myeoloproliferative disorder, is characterized by the presence of the fusion gene BCR-ABL in hematopoietic cells. Leptin, considered a link between cancer and obesity, has been reported to be actively involved in hemopoiesis and pathophysiology of CML. There are few and conflicting reports about the status of serum leptin levels and recently alteration in leptin has been reported due to imatinib mesylate.
METHODS: Leptin and CRP were estimated in 30 (male: 20; female: 10) newly diagnosed and confirmed MBCR- ABL p210 positive CML patients before and after 3 months of therapy by commercial enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. Leptin levels were compared with 30 (male: 20; female: 10) age matched healthy controls accounting for the differences due BMI and gender.
RESULTS: Leptin/BMI ratio was significantly raised in both male and female chronic phase patients as compared to controls (p < 0.001, p = 0.048) and accelerated phase patients as compared to controls (males, p < 0.001; females, p < 0.001). The normal gender difference and dependence on BMI was lost in patients. In patients, who failed to achieve hematological baseline, leptin/BMI was higher only in male patients (p = 0.012). Leptin/BMI also correlat- ed with TLC and blast percentage (TLC, R2 = 0.412, p = 0.001; Blast %, R2 = 0.408, p < 0.001). There was no correlation between leptin and CRP levels. Levels decreased significantly after complete hematological remission in both males and females (p = 0.001, p = 0.028). Levels after 3 months of imatinib therapy were significantly higher than controls in all patients not in remission (males, p < 0.001; females, p = 0.018) but only in male patients in re- mission (p = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: Leptin levels were increased in CML patients. The findings suggest a possible role of leptin in patho- genesis of CML or disease progression independent of inflammatory state or reactionary rise. Imatinib itself may increase leptin levels, and, as leptin plays an active role in the pathophysiology of CML, this conflicting scenario needs further investigation. Alterations in leptin need to be investigated cautiously accounting for confounding and differences due to BMI and gender.

Patnaik MM, Wassie EA, Lasho TL, et al.
Blast transformation in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: Risk factors, genetic features, survival, and treatment outcome.
Am J Hematol. 2015; 90(5):411-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Among 274 patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) and followed for a median of 17.1 months, blast transformation (BT) occurred in 36 (13%). On multivariable analysis, risk factors for BT were presence of circulating blasts (HR 5.7; 95% CI 2.8-11.9) and female gender (HR 2.6; 95% CI 1.3-5.1); the results remained unchanged when analysis was restricted to CMML-1. ASXL1/SRSF2/SF3B1/U2AF1/SETBP1 mutational frequencies were not significantly different between time of CMML diagnosis and BT. Median survival post-BT was 4.7 months (5-year survival 6%) and better with allogeneic stem cell transplant (SCT) (14.3 months vs. 4.3 months for chemotherapy vs. 0.9 months for supportive care; P = 0.03). Neither karyotype nor mutational status was independently associated with risk of BT or post-BT survival. We conclude that female patients with CMML and those with circulating blasts are at a higher risk of BT. Post-BT survival is dismal and our observations suggest consideration of allogeneic SCT prior to BT.

Schetelig J, Schaich M, Schäfer-Eckart K, et al.
Hematopoietic cell transplantation in patients with intermediate and high-risk AML: results from the randomized Study Alliance Leukemia (SAL) AML 2003 trial.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(5):1060-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The optimal timing of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is controversial. We report on 1179 patients with a median age of 48 years who were randomized upfront. In the control arm, sibling HCT was scheduled in the first complete remission for intermediate-risk or high-risk AML and matched unrelated HCT in complex karyotype AML. In the experimental arm, matched unrelated HCT in first remission was offered also to patients with an FLT3-ITD (FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3-internal tandem duplication) allelic ratio >0.8, poor day +15 marrow blast clearance and adverse karyotypes. Further, allogeneic HCT was recommended in high-risk AML to be performed in aplasia after induction chemotherapy. In the intent-to-treat (ITT) analysis, superiority of the experimental transplant strategy could not be shown with respect to overall survival (OS) or event-free survival. As-treated analyses suggest a profound effect of allogeneic HCT on OS (HR 0.73; P=0.002) and event-free survival (HR 0.67; P<0.001). In high-risk patients, OS was significantly improved after allogeneic HCT in aplasia (HR 0.64; P=0.046) and after HCT in remission (HR 0.74; P=0.03). Although superiority of one study arm could not be demonstrated in the ITT analysis, secondary analyses suggest that early allogeneic HCT is a promising strategy for patients with high-risk AML.

Gaur S, Torabi AR, Corral J
Isolated central nervous system relapse in two patients with BCR-ABL-positive acute leukemia while receiving a next-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
In Vivo. 2014 Nov-Dec; 28(6):1149-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
We describe two patients with break point cluster region-Abelsen (BCR-ABL)-positive acute leukemia who had an isolated relapse in the central nervous system (CNS) while receiving a next-generation BCR-ABL inhibitor. The first had B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia which relapsed in the CNS while maintaining molecular remission in the bone marrow on nilotinib. The second patient had an isolated CNS myeloid blast crisis of chronic myeloid leukemia while maintaining complete cytogenetic remission in the bone marrow on dasatinib. Mutation analysis of the kinase domain revealed 35 base pair insertion (35INT) between exon 8 and 9 in both cases.

Gröschel S, Sanders MA, Hoogenboezem R, et al.
Mutational spectrum of myeloid malignancies with inv(3)/t(3;3) reveals a predominant involvement of RAS/RTK signaling pathways.
Blood. 2015; 125(1):133-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Myeloid malignancies bearing chromosomal inv(3)/t(3;3) abnormalities are among the most therapy-resistant leukemias. Deregulated expression of EVI1 is the molecular hallmark of this disease; however, the genome-wide spectrum of cooperating mutations in this disease subset has not been systematically elucidated. Here, we show that 98% of inv(3)/t(3;3) myeloid malignancies harbor mutations in genes activating RAS/receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling pathways. In addition, hemizygous mutations in GATA2, as well as heterozygous alterations in RUNX1, SF3B1, and genes encoding epigenetic modifiers, frequently co-occur with the inv(3)/t(3;3) aberration. Notably, neither mutational patterns nor gene expression profiles differ across inv(3)/t(3;3) acute myeloid leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, and myelodysplastic syndrome cases, suggesting recognition of inv(3)/t(3;3) myeloid malignancies as a single disease entity irrespective of blast count. The high incidence of activating RAS/RTK signaling mutations may provide a target for a rational treatment strategy in this high-risk patient group.

Zaitseva L, Murray MY, Shafat MS, et al.
Ibrutinib inhibits SDF1/CXCR4 mediated migration in AML.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(20):9930-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pharmacological targeting of BTK using ibrutinib has recently shown encouraging clinical activity in a range of lymphoid malignancies. Recently we reported that ibrutinib inhibits human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blast proliferation and leukemic cell adhesion to the surrounding bone marrow stroma cells. Here we report that in human AML ibrutinib, in addition, functions to inhibit SDF1/CXCR4-mediated AML migration at concentrations achievable in vivo. It has previously been shown that SDF1/CXCR4-induced migration is dependent on activation of downstream BTK in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and multiple myeloma. Here we show that SDF-1 induces BTK phosphorylation and downstream MAPK signalling in primary AML blast. Furthermore, we show that ibrutinib can inhibit SDF1-induced AKT and MAPK activation. These results reported here provide a molecular mechanistic rationale for clinically evaluating BTK inhibition in AML patients and suggests that in some AML patients the blasts count may initially rise in response to ibrutinib therapy, analgous to similar clinical observations in CLL.

Winkler B, Taschik J, Haubitz I, et al.
TGFβ and IL10 have an impact on risk group and prognosis in childhood ALL.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015; 62(1):72-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cytokines and their genes have been described to have an influence on incidence and prognosis in malignant, infectious and autoimmune disease. We previously described the impact of cytokine production on prognosis in paediatric standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).
PROCEDURE: In this study, we investigated the influence of cytokine gene polymorphisms (TNFα, TGFβ, IL10 and IFNγ) on frequency, risk group and prognosis in 95 paediatric ALL-patients. We further report on intracellular production of these cytokines in T-cells.
RESULTS: IL10 high-producer-haplotypes were reduced in ALL-patients compared with healthy controls and resulted in a reduced relapse rate compared with low-producer haplotypes. TGFβ high-producer-haplotypes were correlated with a high initial blast-count (codon 25: G/G) and were elevated in high-risk ALL-patients (codon 10: T/T). IL10 was positively and IFNγ-production was negatively correlated with initial blast-count. At diagnosis the expression of TNFα and IFNγ was reduced in patients compared with healthy controls. This was more pronounced in high-risk and in T-ALL-patients.
CONCLUSION: We conclude that gene-polymorphisms of the regulatory/anti-inflammatory cytokines, TGFβ and IL10, but not of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, IFNγ and TNFα, have an impact on prognosis and risk-group of ALL. However, the reduced capacity to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines at diagnosis may serve as another important, functional risk factor. These data may help in further risk stratification and adaptation of therapy-intensity in paediatric patients with ALL.

Raz S, Stark M, Assaraf YG
Binding of a Smad4/Ets-1 complex to a novel intragenic regulatory element in exon12 of FPGS underlies decreased gene expression and antifolate resistance in leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(19):9183-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Polyglutamylation of antifolates catalyzed by folylpoly-γ-glutamate synthetase (FPGS) is essential for their intracellular retention and cytotoxic activity. Hence, loss of FPGS expression and/or function results in lack of antifolate polyglutamylation and drug resistance. Members of the TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway are negative regulators of hematopoiesis and deregulation of this pathway is considered a major contributor to leukemogenesis. Here we show that FPGS gene expression is inversely correlated with the binding of a Smad4/Ets-1 complex to exon12 of FPGS in both acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells and acute myeloid leukemia blast specimens. We demonstrate that antifolate resistant leukemia cells harbor a heterozygous point mutation in exon12 of FPGS which disrupts FPGS activity by abolishing ATP binding, and alters the binding pattern of transcription factors to the genomic region of exon12. This in turn results in the near complete silencing of the wild type allele leading to a 97% loss of FPGS activity. We show that exon12 is a novel intragenic transcriptional regulator, endowed with the ability to drive transcription in vitro, and is occupied by transcription factors and chromatin remodeling agents (e.g. Smad4/Ets-1, HP-1 and Brg1) in vivo. These findings bear important implications for the rational overcoming of antifolate resistance in leukemia.

Dunna NR, Vuree S, Anuradha C, et al.
NRAS mutations in de novo acute leukemia: prevalence and clinical significance.
Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2014; 51(3):207-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
The activating mutations of the Ras gene or other abnormalities in Ras signaling pathway lead to uncontrolled growth factor-independent proliferation of hematopoietic progenitors. Oncogenic mutations in NRAS gene have been observed with variable prevalence in hematopoietic malignancies. In the present study, NRAS mutations were detected using bidirectional sequencing in 264 acute leukemia cases--129 acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and 135 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and 245 age- and gender-matched controls. Missense mutation was observed only in the 12th codon of NRAS gene in 4.7% of AML and 3.16% of ALL cases. The presence of NRAS mutation did not significantly influence blast % and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels in AML patients. When the data were analyzed with respect to clinical variables, the total leukocyte count was elevated for mutation positive group, compared to negative group. In AML patients with NRAS mutations, 60% failed to achieve complete remission (CR), as compared to 34.8% in mutation negative group. These results indicated that NRAS mutations might confer poor drug response. In AML, disease free survival (DFS) in NRAS mutation positive group was lesser, compared to mutation negative group (9.5 months vs. 11.68 months). In ALL patients, DFS of NRAS mutation positive group was lesser than mutation negative group (9.2 months vs. 27.5 months). The CR rate was also lower for mutation-positive patients group, compared to mutation-negative group. In conclusion, these results suggested that presence of NRAS mutation at 12th codon was associated with poor response and poorer DFS in both ALL and AML.

Lucas CM, Harris RJ, Giannoudis A, et al.
Low leukotriene B4 receptor 1 leads to ALOX5 downregulation at diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia.
Haematologica. 2014; 99(11):1710-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
ALOX5 is implicated in chronic myeloid leukemia development in mouse leukemic stem cells, but its importance in human chronic myeloid leukemia is unknown. Functional ALOX5 was assessed using an LTB4 ELISA and ALOX5, and LTB4R1 mRNA expression was determined via a TaqMan gene expression assay. LTB4R1 and 5-LOX protein levels were assessed by cell surface flow cytometry analysis. At diagnosis ALOX5 was below normal in both blood and CD34(+) stem cells in all patients. On treatment initiation, ALOX5 levels increased in all patients except those who were destined to progress subsequently to blast crisis. LTB4 levels were increased despite low ALOX5 expression, suggesting that the arachidonic acid pathway is functioning normally up to the point of LTB4 production. However, the LTB4 receptor (BLT1) protein in newly diagnosed patients was significantly lower than after a period of treatment (P<0.0001). The low level of LTB4R1 at diagnosis explains the downregulation of ALOX5. In the absence of LTB4R1, the arachidonic acid pathway intermediates (5-HEPTE and LTA4) negatively regulate ALOX5. ALOX5 regulation is aberrant in chronic myeloid leukemia patients and may not be important for the development of the disease. Our data suggest caution when extrapolating mouse model data into human chronic myeloid leukemia.

Aref S, El-Ghonemy MS, Abouzeid TE, et al.
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) A1062T mutation as a prognostic factor in Egyptian patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(9):158 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study aimed to evaluate the incidence and clinical and prognostic impact of TERT A1062T mutation in AML patients treated at Mansoura Oncology Center. Screening for TERT A1062T mutation in exon 15 of the TERT gene was performed on diagnostic DNA samples from 153 AML patients and 197 healthy subjects as a control group by using sequence-specific primers. TERT A1062T mutation was detected in 18 cases out of 153 patients (11.8 %) and in one out of 197 control group subjects (0.51 %). The achievement of complete remission was significantly higher in AML group with wild type as compared to that in the mutant one (53.3 vs 16.7 %, respectively). In addition, the relapse rate was significantly higher in the mutant patients as compared to those with wild type (62.5 vs 28.2 %, respectively). The AML patients with TERT (A1062T) mutation had shorter overall survival than patients with wild type (P = 0.001). In a multivariable analysis, TERT (A1062T) mutational status is independently worse predictor factor (P = 0.007) when controlling for cytogenetic status (P = <0.001), performance status (P = <0.001) and bone marrow blast cells (P = 0.001). In conclusion, TERT A1062T mutation is an independent negative prognostic factor in AML patients. Therefore, molecular testing for TERT A1062T mutation in patients with AML is recommended in order to delineate their prognostic status.

Trocoli A, Bensadoun P, Richard E, et al.
p62/SQSTM1 upregulation constitutes a survival mechanism that occurs during granulocytic differentiation of acute myeloid leukemia cells.
Cell Death Differ. 2014; 21(12):1852-61 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
The p62/SQSTM1 adapter protein has an important role in the regulation of several key signaling pathways and helps transport ubiquitinated proteins to the autophagosomes and proteasome for degradation. Here, we investigate the regulation and roles of p62/SQSTM1 during acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell maturation into granulocytes. Levels of p62/SQSTM1 mRNA and protein were both significantly increased during all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-induced differentiation of AML cells through a mechanism that depends on NF-κB activation. We show that this response constitutes a survival mechanism that prolongs the life span of mature AML cells and mitigates the effects of accumulation of aggregated proteins that occurs during granulocytic differentiation. Interestingly, ATRA-induced p62/SQSTM1 upregulation was impaired in maturation-resistant AML cells but was reactivated when differentiation was restored in these cells. Primary blast cells of AML patients and CD34(+) progenitors exhibited significantly lower p62/SQSTM1 mRNA levels than did mature granulocytes from healthy donors. Our results demonstrate that p62/SQSTM1 expression is upregulated in mature compared with immature myeloid cells and reveal a pro-survival function of the NF-κB/SQSTM1 signaling axis during granulocytic differentiation of AML cells. These findings may help our understanding of neutrophil/granulocyte development and will guide the development of novel therapeutic strategies for refractory and relapsed AML patients with previous exposure to ATRA.

Guo Z, Wang A, Zhang W, et al.
PIM inhibitors target CD25-positive AML cells through concomitant suppression of STAT5 activation and degradation of MYC oncogene.
Blood. 2014; 124(11):1777-89 [PubMed] Related Publications
Postchemotherapy relapse presents a major unmet medical need in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), where treatment options are limited. CD25 is a leukemic stem cell marker and a conspicuous prognostic marker for overall/relapse-free survival in AML. Rare occurrence of genetic alterations among PIM family members imposes a substantial hurdle in formulating a compelling patient stratification strategy for the clinical development of selective PIM inhibitors in cancer. Here we show that CD25, a bona fide STAT5 regulated gene, is a mechanistically relevant predictive biomarker for sensitivity to PIM kinase inhibitors. Alone or in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, PIM inhibitors can suppress STAT5 activation and significantly shorten the half-life of MYC to achieve substantial growth inhibition of high CD25-expressing AML cells. Our results highlight the importance of STAT5 and MYC in rendering cancer cells sensitive to PIM inhibitors. Because the presence of a CD25-positive subpopulation in leukemic blasts correlates with poor overall or relapse-free survival, our data suggest that a combination of PIM inhibitors with chemotherapy and tyrosine kinase inhibitors could improve long-term therapeutic outcomes in CD25-positive AML.

Chen WL, Wang JH, Zhao AH, et al.
A distinct glucose metabolism signature of acute myeloid leukemia with prognostic value.
Blood. 2014; 124(10):1645-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a group of hematological malignancies with high heterogeneity. There is an increasing need to improve the risk stratification of AML patients, including those with normal cytogenetics, using molecular biomarkers. Here, we report a metabolomics study that identified a distinct glucose metabolism signature with 400 AML patients and 446 healthy controls. The glucose metabolism signature comprises a panel of 6 serum metabolite markers, which demonstrated prognostic value in cytogenetically normal AML patients. We generated a prognosis risk score (PRS) with 6 metabolite markers for each patient using principal component analysis. A low PRS was able to predict patients with poor survival independently of well-established markers. We further compared the gene expression patterns of AML blast cells between low and high PRS groups, which correlated well to the metabolic pathways involving the 6 metabolite markers, with enhanced glycolysis and tricarboxylic [corrected] acid cycle at gene expression level in low PRS group. In vitro results demonstrated enhanced glycolysis contributed to decreased sensitivity to antileukemic agent arabinofuranosyl cytidine (Ara-C), whereas inhibition of glycolysis suppressed AML cell proliferation and potentiated cytotoxicity of Ara-C. Our study provides strong evidence for the use of serum metabolites and metabolic pathways as novel prognostic markers and potential therapeutic targets for AML.

Zhu XS, Lin ZY, Du J, et al.
BCR/ABL mRNA targeting small interfering RNA effects on proliferation and apoptosis in chronic myeloid leukemia.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014; 15(12):4773-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: To investigate the effects of small interference RNA (siRNA) targeting BCR/ABL mRNA on proliferation and apoptosis in the K562 human chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell line and to provide a theoretical rationale and experimental evidence for its potential clinical application for anti-CML treatment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The gene sequence for BCR/ABL mRNA was found from the GeneBank. The target gene site on the BCR/ABL mRNA were selected according to Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) and rational siRNA design rules, the secondary structure of the candidate targeted mRNA was predicted, the relevant thermodynamic parameters were analyzed, and the targeted gene sequences were compared with BLAST to eliminate any sequences with significant homology. Inhibition of proliferation was evaluated by MTT assay and colony-formation inhibiting test. Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry (FCM) and the morphology of apoptotic cells was identified by Giemsa-Wright staining. Western blotting was used to analyze the expression of BCR/ABL fusion protein in K562 cells after siRNA treatment.
RESULTS: The mRNA local secondary structure calculated by RNA structure software, and the optimal design of specific siRNA were contributed by bioinformatics rules. Five sequences of BCR/ABL siRNAs were designed and synthesized in vitro. Three sequences, siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786, which showed the most effective inhibition of K562 cell growth, were identified among the five candidate siRNAs, with a cell proliferative inhibitory rate nearly 50% after exposure to 12.5 nmol/L~50 nmol/L siRNA1384 for 24,48 and 72 hours. The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786 for 24 hours were 46.6 nmol/L, 59.3 nmol/L and 62.6 nmol/L, respectively, and 65.668 nmol/L, 76.6 nmol/L, 74.4 nmol/L for 72 hours. The colony-formation inhibiting test also indicated that, compared with control, cell growth of siRNA treated group was inhibited. FCM results showed that the rate of cell apoptosis increased 24 hours after transfecting siRNA. The results of annexinV/PI staining indicated that the rate of apoptosis imcreased (1.53%, 15.3%, 64.5%, 57.5% and 21.5%) following treamtne with siRNAs (siRNA34, siRNA372, siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786). Morphological analysis showed td typical morphologic changes of apoptosis such as shrunken, fragmentation nucleus as well as "apoptotic bodies" after K562 cell exposure to siRNA. Western blot analysis showed that BCR/ABL protein was reduced sharply after a single dose of 50 nmol/L siRNA transfection.
CONCLUSIONS: Proliferation of K562 cells was remarkbly inhibited by siRNAs (siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786) in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro, with effective induction of apoptosis at a concentration of 50 nmol/L. One anti-leukemia mechanism in K562 cells appeared that BCR/ABL targeted protein was highly down-regulated. The siRNAs (siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786) may prove valuable in the treatment of CML.

Xie J, Wang Q, Wang Q, et al.
High frequency of BTG1 deletions in patients with BCR-ABL1-positive acute leukemia.
Cancer Genet. 2014; 207(5):226-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deletions affecting the B-cell translocation gene 1 (BTG1) have recently been reported in 9% of patients with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL), and occur even more frequently in ETV6-RUNX1-positive and BCR-ABL1-positive subgroups. To investigate whether the BTG1 deletions occur in other BCR-ABL1-positive acute leukemias besides BCP-ALL, we analyzed 44 leukemia cases harboring the BCR-ABL1 transcript [32 BCP-ALL, six mixed-phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL), and six chronic myeloid leukemia in B-lineage blast crisis (CML-BC)] by array-based comparative genomic hybridization and reverse transcription-PCR. BTG1 deletions were present in 31.8% of BCR-ABL1-positive acute leukemia patients, including 31.3% of BCP-ALL (10/32), 33.3% of MPAL (2/6), and 33.3% of CML-BC (B-lineage) (2/6) patients. Of note, the intragenic deletion breakpoints, mapping to 5 different positions at the proximal end of the breakpoint, clustered tightly within exon 2 of BTG1, which were located within a stretch of 20 bp from nucleotide 284 to nucleotide 304 and led to truncated BTG1 transcripts. There were no significant differences in the median white blood cell count, hemoglobin concentration, platelet count, bone marrow blast count, sex, age, or overall complete remission rate between patients with and without BTG1 deletions. Taken together, our data suggest that BTG1 deletions might play a role in leukemogenesis of BCP-ALL as well as of BCR-ABL1-positive MPAL and CML-BC (B-lineage).

Brigger D, Proikas-Cezanne T, Tschan MP
WIPI-dependent autophagy during neutrophil differentiation of NB4 acute promyelocytic leukemia cells.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1315 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Members of the WD-repeat protein interacting with phosphoinositides (WIPI) family are phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P) effectors that are essential for the formation of autophagosomes. Autophagosomes, unique double-membraned organelles, are characteristic for autophagy, a bulk degradation mechanism with cytoprotective and homeostatic function. Both, WIPI-1 and WIPI-2 are aberrantly expressed in several solid tumors, linking these genes to carcinogenesis. We now found that the expression of WIPI-1 was significantly reduced in a large cohort of 98 primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patient samples (complex karyotypes; t(8;21); t(15,17); inv(16)). In contrast, the expression of WIPI-2 was only reduced in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a distinct subtype of AML (t(15,17)). As AML cells are blocked in their differentiation, we tested if the expression levels of WIPI-1 and WIPI-2 increase during all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-induced neutrophil differentiation of APL. According to the higher WIPI-1 expression in granulocytes compared with immature blast cells, WIPI-1 but not WIPI-2 expression was significantly induced during neutrophil differentiation of NB4 APL cells. Interestingly, the induction of WIPI-1 expression was dependent on the transcription factor PU.1, a master regulator of myelopoiesis, supporting our notion that WIPI-1 expression is reduced in AML patients lacking proper PU-1 activity. Further, knocking down WIPI-1 in NB4 cells markedly attenuated the autophagic flux and significantly reduced neutrophil differentiation. This result was also achieved by knocking down WIPI-2, suggesting that both WIPI-1 and WIPI-2 are functionally required and not redundant in mediating the PI3P signal at the onset of autophagy in NB4 cells. In line with these data, downregulation of PI3KC3 (hVPS34), which generates PI3P upstream of WIPIs, also inhibited neutrophil differentiation. In conclusion, we demonstrate that both WIPI-1 and WIPI-2 are required for the PI3P-dependent autophagic activity during neutrophil differentiation, and that PU.1-dependent WIPI-1 expression is significantly repressed in primary AML patient samples and that the induction of autophagic flux is associated with neutrophil differentiation of APL cells.

Ali MA, Naka K, Yoshida A, et al.
Association of a murine leukaemia stem cell gene signature based on nucleostemin promoter activity with prognosis of acute myeloid leukaemia in patients.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 450(1):837-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a heterogeneous neoplastic disorder in which a subset of cells function as leukaemia-initiating cells (LICs). In this study, we prospectively evaluated the leukaemia-initiating capacity of AML cells fractionated according to the expression of a nucleolar GTP binding protein, nucleostemin (NS). To monitor NS expression in living AML cells, we generated a mouse AML model in which green fluorescent protein (GFP) is expressed under the control of a region of the NS promoter (NS-GFP). In AML cells, NS-GFP levels were correlated with endogenous NS mRNA. AML cells with the highest expression of NS-GFP were very immature blast-like cells, efficiently formed leukaemia colonies in vitro, and exhibited the highest leukaemia-initiating capacity in vivo. Gene expression profiling analysis revealed that cell cycle regulators and nucleotide metabolism-related genes were highly enriched in a gene set associated with leukaemia-initiating capacity that we termed the 'leukaemia stem cell gene signature'. This gene signature stratified human AML patients into distinct clusters that reflected prognosis, demonstrating that the mouse leukaemia stem cell gene signature is significantly associated with the malignant properties of human AML. Further analyses of gene regulation in leukaemia stem cells could provide novel insights into diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to AML.

Lepore M, de Lalla C, Gundimeda SR, et al.
A novel self-lipid antigen targets human T cells against CD1c(+) leukemias.
J Exp Med. 2014; 211(7):1363-77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
T cells that recognize self-lipids presented by CD1c are frequent in the peripheral blood of healthy individuals and kill transformed hematopoietic cells, but little is known about their antigen specificity and potential antileukemia effects. We report that CD1c self-reactive T cells recognize a novel class of self-lipids, identified as methyl-lysophosphatidic acids (mLPAs), which are accumulated in leukemia cells. Primary acute myeloid and B cell acute leukemia blasts express CD1 molecules. mLPA-specific T cells efficiently kill CD1c(+) acute leukemia cells, poorly recognize nontransformed CD1c-expressing cells, and protect immunodeficient mice against CD1c(+) human leukemia cells. The identification of immunogenic self-lipid antigens accumulated in leukemia cells and the observed leukemia control by lipid-specific T cells in vivo provide a new conceptual framework for leukemia immune surveillance and possible immunotherapy.

Myers DE, Yiv S, Qazi S, et al.
CD19-antigen specific nanoscale liposomal formulation of a SYK P-site inhibitor causes apoptotic destruction of human B-precursor leukemia cells.
Integr Biol (Camb). 2014; 6(8):766-80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
We report the anti-leukemic potency of a unique biotargeted nanoscale liposomal nanoparticle (LNP) formulation of the spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) P-site inhibitor C61. C61-loaded LNP were decorated with a murine CD19-specific monoclonal antibody directed against radiation-resistant CD19-receptor positive aggressive B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells. The biotargeted C61-LNP were more potent than untargeted C61-LNP and consistently caused apoptosis in B-precursor ALL cells. The CD19-directed C61-LNP also destroyed B-precursor ALL xenograft cells and their leukemia-initiating in vivo clonogenic fraction. This unique nanostructural therapeutic modality targeting the SYK-dependent anti-apoptotic blast cell survival machinery shows promise for overcoming the clinical radiochemotherapy resistance of B-precursor ALL cells.

Ruvolo PP, Ruvolo VR, Jacamo R, et al.
The protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit B55α is a modulator of signaling and microRNA expression in acute myeloid leukemia cells.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1843(9):1969-77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
We recently discovered that the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) B55α subunit (PPP2R2A) is under-expressed in primary blast cells and is unfavorable for remission duration in AML patients. In this study, reverse phase protein analysis (RPPA) of 230 proteins in 511 AML patient samples revealed a strong correlation of B55α with a number of proteins including MYC, PKC α, and SRC. B55α suppression in OCI-AML3 cells by shRNA demonstrated that the B subunit is a PKCα phosphatase. B55α does not target SRC, but rather the kinase suppresses protein expression of the B subunit. Finally, the correlation between B55α and MYC levels reflected a complex stoichiometric competition between B subunits. Loss of B55α in OCI-AML3 cells did not change global PP2A activity and the only isoform that is induced is the one containing B56α. In cells containing B55α shRNA, MYC was suppressed with concomitant induction of the competing B subunit B56α (PPP2R5A). A recent study determined that FTY-720, a drug whose action involves the activation of PP2A, resulted in the induction of B55α In AML cells, and a reduction of the B subunit rendered these cells resistant to FTY-720. Finally, reduction of the B subunit resulted in an increase in the expression of miR-191-5p and a suppression of miR-142-3p. B55α regulation of these miRs was intriguing as high levels of miR-191 portend poor survival in AML, and miR-142-3p is mutated in 2% of AML patient samples. In summary, the suppression of B55α activates signaling pathways that could support leukemia cell survival.

Pasupuleti SK, Katari V, Lokanathan S, et al.
Novel frame shift mutations ('A' deletion) observed in exon 9 of Wilms' tumor (WT1) gene in a patient reported with glomerulosclerosis.
Gene. 2014; 546(1):63-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wilms' tumor-suppressor gene-1 (WT1) is a transcription factor that contains four zinc-finger motifs at the C-terminus and plays a crucial role in kidney and gonad development. We have identified primitive glomeruloid formation using immunohistochemistry in a patient who was clinically diagnosed with a Wilms' tumor. In order to understand the involvement of mutations in the WT1 gene, the genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood of the patient (18/F). Exon 9 of the WT1 gene was amplified and sequenced. The obtained sequence was BLAST searched against the transcript variants (TV) of the WT1 gene. An amplified exon 9 sequence of the WT1 gene showing similarity with exon 9 of TV-A, F and exon 10 of TV-B, D and E with a deletion of single nucleotide 'A' causing frame shift in the 4th zinc finger domain of the WT1 protein resulted in Wilms' tumor condition. The deletion position is variable with different transcript variants and they are present at: for TV-A c.1592delA, p.468, for TV-F c.1053delA, p.259, for TV-B c.1643delA, p.485, for TV-D c.1652 delA, p.488, and for TV-E c.1095delA, p.273; all these variations resulted in frame shift mutation. In order to substantiate these results in silico analysis was carried out; the structural superimposition of wild type and mutant WT1 structures showed that the mutated region exhibited a different confirmation with RMSD of 1.759Å. Therefore, these results conclusively explain the mutation in the WT1 gene that leads to structural changes contributing to glomerulosclerosis.

El-Ghany HM, El-Saadany ZA, Bahaa NM, et al.
Stromal cell derived factor-1 (CXCL12) chemokine gene variant in myeloid leukemias.
Clin Lab. 2014; 60(5):735-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute and chronic myeloid leukemia are initiated and sustained by a small, self-renewing population of leukemic stem cells, which produce progeny of a heterogeneous population of progenitor cells. CXCL12, a chemokine abundantly produced by the bone marrow microenvironment, and its receptor CXCR4 have crucial roles in malignant cell trafficking. We set out to determine the CXCL12 gene polymorphism at codon G801A and evaluate its influence on malignant cell dissemination and tissue infiltration in myeloid leukemias.
METHODS: Genotyping for CXCL12 was done by restriction PCR-RFLP for 48 myeloid leukemia patients: 38 de novo AML and 10 CML. Fifty age and gender matched volunteers were evaluated as controls.
RESULTS: Regarding AML patients, the frequency of wild genotype was 50% and the heterozygous genotype was 50%. In CML patients, the frequency of wild genotype was 30% while the heterozygous genotype was 70%. In the control group, 57.2% had wild genotype while 42.8% had heterozygous genotype with no significant difference detected between myeloid leukemia patients and the control group. There was a statistically insignificant association between wild and heterozygous genotypes regarding clinical, laboratory data and extramedullary dissemination.
CONCLUSIONS: CXCL12 polymorphism is not associated with either increased myeloid leukemia risk or extramedullary blast dissemination.

Nakahara F, Kitaura J, Uchida T, et al.
Hes1 promotes blast crisis in chronic myelogenous leukemia through MMP-9 upregulation in leukemic cells.
Blood. 2014; 123(25):3932-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
High levels of HES1 expression are frequently found in BCR-ABL(+) chronic myelogenous leukemia in blast crisis (CML-BC). In mouse bone marrow transplantation (BMT) models, co-expression of BCR-ABL and Hes1 induces CML-BC-like disease; however, the underlying mechanism remained elusive. Here, based on gene expression analysis, we show that MMP-9 is upregulated by Hes1 in common myeloid progenitors (CMPs). Analysis of promoter activity demonstrated that Hes1 upregulated MMP-9 by activating NF-κB. Analysis of 20 samples from CML-BC patients showed that MMP-9 was highly expressed in three, with two exhibiting high levels of HES1 expression. Interestingly, MMP-9 deficiency impaired the cobblestone area-forming ability of CMPs expressing BCR-ABL and Hes1 that were in conjunction with a stromal cell layer. In addition, CMPs expressing BCR-ABL and Hes1 secreted MMP-9, promoting the release of soluble Kit-ligand (sKitL) from stromal cells, thereby enhancing proliferation of the leukemic cells. In accordance, mice transplanted with CMPs expressing BCR-ABL and Hes1 exhibited high levels of sKitL as well as MMP-9 in the serum. Importantly, MMP-9 deficiency impaired the development of CML-BC-like disease induced by BCR-ABL and Hes1 in mouse BMT models. The present results suggest that Hes1 promotes the development of CML-BC, partly through MMP-9 upregulation in leukemic cells.

Uzan B, Poglio S, Gerby B, et al.
Interleukin-18 produced by bone marrow-derived stromal cells supports T-cell acute leukaemia progression.
EMBO Mol Med. 2014; 6(6):821-34 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
Development of novel therapies is critical for T-cell acute leukaemia (T-ALL). Here, we investigated the effect of inhibiting the MAPK/MEK/ERK pathway on T-ALL cell growth. Unexpectedly, MEK inhibitors (MEKi) enhanced growth of 70% of human T-ALL cell samples cultured on stromal cells independently of NOTCH activation and maintained their ability to propagate in vivo. Similar results were obtained when T-ALL cells were cultured with ERK1/2-knockdown stromal cells or with conditioned medium from MEKi-treated stromal cells. Microarray analysis identified interleukin 18 (IL-18) as transcriptionally up-regulated in MEKi-treated MS5 cells. Recombinant IL-18 promoted T-ALL growth in vitro, whereas the loss of function of IL-18 receptor in T-ALL blast cells decreased blast proliferation in vitro and in NSG mice. The NFKB pathway that is downstream to IL-18R was activated by IL-18 in blast cells. IL-18 circulating levels were increased in T-ALL-xenografted mice and also in T-ALL patients in comparison with controls. This study uncovers a novel role of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-18 and outlines the microenvironment involvement in human T-ALL development.

Wrobel T, Pogrzeba J, Stefanko E, et al.
Expression of Eph A4, Eph B2 and Eph B4 receptors in AML.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2014; 20(4):901-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eph receptors represent the largest subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). The up- regulation of Eph receptors has been documented in various solid tumors, where it often correlates with poor prognosis. Their significance in hematologic malignancies is still unclear. This study aimed to investigate the expression of Eph A4, Eph B2, and Eph B4 mRNA in non - M3 AML patients and determine their prognostic significance. Bone marrow samples from 101 newly diagnosed non - M3 AML patients and 26 healthy controls for comparison were quantified by real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and the comparative cycle threshold (Ct) method was used to determine their relative expression levels to GUS control gene. The results showed that expression of all selected Eph receptors was significantly lower in AML patients comparing to controls. It also differed according to FAB subtypes. The decreased expression levels of Eph A4 were associated with higher leukocytes (p = 0.022) and blast cell counts (p = 0.001), and unfavorable FLT3-ITD mutation. Our study revealed significant correlation between lower EphB2 expression levels, and higher complete remission rate (p = 0.009724) and longer overall survival. Additionally, we found that patients with shorter RFS had decreased EphB4 expression (p = 0.00). In conclusion, the results suggest the prognostic impact of decreased expression levels of some Eph receptors in AML patients.

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