Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) occurs in approximately 1:1500 children and is less frequently found in adults. The most common immunophenotype of ALL is the B cell lineage and within B cell precursor ALL, specific genetic aberrations define subtypes with distinct biological and clinical characteristics. With more advanced genetic analysis methods such as whole genome and transcriptome sequencing, novel genetic subtypes have recently been discovered. One novel class of genetic aberrations comprises tyrosine kinase-activating lesions, including translocations and rearrangements of tyrosine kinase and cytokine receptor genes. These newly discovered genetic aberrations are harder to detect by standard diagnostic methods such as karyotyping, fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) because they are diverse and often cryptic. These lesions involve one of several tyrosine kinase genes (among others, v-abl Abelson murine leukaemia viral oncogene homologue 1 (ABL1), v-abl Abelson murine leukaemia viral oncogene homologue 2 (ABL2), platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta polypeptide (PDGFRB)), each of which can be fused to up to 15 partner genes. Together, they compose 2–3% of B cell precursor ALL (BCP-ALL), which is similar in size to the well-known fusion gene BCR-ABL1 subtype. These so-called BCR-ABL1-like fusions are mutually exclusive with the sentinel translocations in BCP-ALL (BCR-ABL1, ETV6-RUNX1, TCF3-PBX1, and KMT2A (MLL) rearrangements) and have the promising prospect to be sensitive to tyrosine kinase inhibitors similar to BCR-ABL1. In this review, we discuss the types of tyrosine kinase-activating lesions discovered, and the preclinical and clinical evidence for the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment of this novel subtype of ALL.

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European Journal of Cancer

Boer, J.M. (Judith M.), & den Boer, M. (2017). BCR-ABL1-like acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: From bench to bedside. European Journal of Cancer (Vol. 82, pp. 203–218). doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2017.06.012