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EVI1 is critical for the pathogenesis of a subset of MLL-AF9-rearranged AMLs

, : EVI1 is critical for the pathogenesis of a subset of MLL-AF9-rearranged AMLs. Blood 119(24): 5838-5849

The proto-oncogene EVI1 (ecotropic viral integration site-1), located on chromosome band 3q26, is aberrantly expressed in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with 3q26 rearrangements. In the current study, we showed, in a large AML cohort carrying 11q23 translocations, that ~ 43% of all mixed lineage leukemia (MLL)–rearranged leukemias are EVI1pos. High EVI1 expression occurs in AMLs expressing the MLL-AF6, -AF9, -AF1, -ENL, or -ELL fusion genes. In addition, we present evidence that EVI1pos MLL-rearranged AMLs differ molecularly, morphologically, and immunophenotypically from EVI1neg MLL-rearranged leukemias. In mouse bone marrow cells transduced with MLL-AF9, we show that MLL-AF9 fusion protein maintains Evi1 expression on transformation of Evi1pos HSCs. MLL-AF9 does not activate Evi1 expression in MLL-AF9–transformed granulocyte macrophage progenitors (GMPs) that were initially Evi1neg. Moreover, shRNA-mediated knockdown of Evi1 in an Evi1pos MLL-AF9 mouse model inhibits leukemia growth both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that Evi1 provides a growth-promoting signal. Using the Evi1pos MLL-AF9 mouse leukemia model, we demonstrate increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents on reduction of Evi1 expression. We conclude that EVI1 is a critical player in tumor growth in a subset of MLL-rearranged AMLs.


PMID: 22553314

DOI: 10.1182/blood-2011-11-393827

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