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Constitutive Activation of RAS/MAPK Pathway Cooperates with Trisomy 21 and Is Therapeutically Exploitable in Down Syndrome B-cell Leukemia


Abstract

PURPOSE

Children with Down syndrome (constitutive trisomy 21) that develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia (DS-ALL) have a 3-fold increased likelihood of treatment-related mortality coupled with a higher cumulative incidence of relapse, compared with other children with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). This highlights the lack of suitable treatment for Down syndrome children with B-ALL.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

To facilitate the translation of new therapeutic agents into clinical trials, we built the first preclinical cohort of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of DS-ALL, comprehensively characterized at the genetic and transcriptomic levels, and have proven its suitability for preclinical studies by assessing the efficacy of drug combination between the MEK inhibitor trametinib and conventional chemotherapy agents.

RESULTS

Whole-exome and RNA-sequencing experiments revealed a high incidence of somatic alterations leading to RAS/MAPK pathway activation in our cohort of DS-ALL, as well as in other pediatric B-ALL presenting somatic gain of the chromosome 21 (B-ALL+21). In murine and human B-cell precursors, activated KRAS$^{G12D}$ functionally cooperates with trisomy 21 to deregulate transcriptional networks that promote increased proliferation and self renewal, as well as B-cell differentiation blockade. Moreover, we revealed that inhibition of RAS/MAPK pathway activation using the MEK1/2 inhibitor trametinib decreased leukemia burden in several PDX models of B-ALL+21, and enhanced survival of DS-ALL PDX in combination with conventional chemotherapy agents such as vincristine.

CONCLUSIONS

Altogether, using novel and suitable PDX models, this study indicates that RAS/MAPK pathway inhibition represents a promising strategy to improve the outcome of Down syndrome children with B-cell precursor leukemia.

Abstract

PURPOSE

Children with Down syndrome (constitutive trisomy 21) that develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia (DS-ALL) have a 3-fold increased likelihood of treatment-related mortality coupled with a higher cumulative incidence of relapse, compared with other children with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). This highlights the lack of suitable treatment for Down syndrome children with B-ALL.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

To facilitate the translation of new therapeutic agents into clinical trials, we built the first preclinical cohort of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of DS-ALL, comprehensively characterized at the genetic and transcriptomic levels, and have proven its suitability for preclinical studies by assessing the efficacy of drug combination between the MEK inhibitor trametinib and conventional chemotherapy agents.

RESULTS

Whole-exome and RNA-sequencing experiments revealed a high incidence of somatic alterations leading to RAS/MAPK pathway activation in our cohort of DS-ALL, as well as in other pediatric B-ALL presenting somatic gain of the chromosome 21 (B-ALL+21). In murine and human B-cell precursors, activated KRAS$^{G12D}$ functionally cooperates with trisomy 21 to deregulate transcriptional networks that promote increased proliferation and self renewal, as well as B-cell differentiation blockade. Moreover, we revealed that inhibition of RAS/MAPK pathway activation using the MEK1/2 inhibitor trametinib decreased leukemia burden in several PDX models of B-ALL+21, and enhanced survival of DS-ALL PDX in combination with conventional chemotherapy agents such as vincristine.

CONCLUSIONS

Altogether, using novel and suitable PDX models, this study indicates that RAS/MAPK pathway inhibition represents a promising strategy to improve the outcome of Down syndrome children with B-cell precursor leukemia.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Oncology
Life Sciences > Cancer Research
Language:English
Date:1 July 2020
Deposited On:27 Jan 2021 08:58
Last Modified:28 Jan 2021 21:01
Publisher:American Association for Cancer Research
ISSN:1078-0432
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3519
PubMed ID:32220889

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