Approximately 25% of the pediatric B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) cases are genetically unclassified. More thorough elucidation of the pathobiology of these genetically unclassified ('B-other') cases may identify novel treatment options. We analyzed gene expression profiles of 572 pediatric BCP-ALL cases, representing all major ALL subtypes. High expression of STAP1, an adaptor protein downstream of the B-cell receptor (BCR), was identified in BCR-ABL1-like and non-BCR-ABL1-like B-other cases. Limma analysis revealed an association between high expression of STAP1 and BCR signaling genes. However, STAP1 expression and pre-BCR signaling were not causally related: cytoplasmic Igμ levels were not abnormal in cases with high levels of STAP1 and stimulation of pre-BCR signaling did not induce STAP1 expression. To elucidate the role of STAP1 in BCP-ALL survival, expression was silenced in two human BCP-ALL cell lines. Knockdown of STAP1 did not reduce the proliferation rate or viability of these cells, suggesting that STAP1 is not a likely candidate for precision medicines. Moreover, high expression of STAP1 was not predictive for an unfavorable prognosis of BCR-ABL1-like and non-BCR-ABL1-like B-other cases. Remarkably, DUX4-rearrangements and intragenic ERG deletions, were enriched in cases harboring high expression of STAP1.

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Journal Scientific Reports
Steeghs, E.M.P, Bakker, M, Hoogkamer, A.Q, M. Boer, J, Hartman, Q.J, Stalpers, F, … den Boer, M.L. (2018). High STAP1 expression in DUX4-rearranged cases is not suitable as therapeutic target in pediatric B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Scientific Reports, 8(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-17704-4