Double (bi-allelic) mutations in the gene encoding the CCAAT/enhancer- binding protein-alpha (CEBPA) transcription factor have a favorable prognostic impact in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Double mutations in CEBPA can be detected using various techniques, but it is a notoriously difficult gene to sequence due to its high GC-content. Here we developed a two-step gene expression classifier for accurate and standardized detection of CEBPA double mutations. The key feature of the two-step classifier is that it explicitly removes cases with low CEBPA expression, thereby excluding CEBPA hypermethylated cases that have similar gene expression profiles as a CEBPA double mutant, which would result in false-positive predictions. In the second step, we have developed a 55 gene signature to identity the true CEBPA double-mutation cases. This two-step classifier was tested on a cohort of 505 unselected AML cases, including 26 CEBPA double mutants, 12 CEBPA single mutants, and seven CEBPA promoter hypermethylated cases, on which its performance was estimated by a double-loop cross-validation protocol. The two-step classifier achieves a sensitivity of 96.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 81.1 to 99.3) and specificity of 100.0% (95% CI 99.2 to 100.0). There are no false-positive detections. This two-step CEBPA double-mutation classifier has been incorporated on a microarray platform that can simultaneously detect other relevant molecular biomarkers, which allows for a standardized comprehensive diagnostic assay. In conclusion, gene expression profiling provides a reliable method for CEBPA double-mutation detection in patients with AML for clinical use.,
Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers
Department of Hematology

Burgmer, P., de Quartel, L., Brand, J., de Best, L., Viëtor, H., Löwenberg, B., … van Beers, E. (2013). Detection of CEBPA double mutants in acute myeloid leukemia using a custom gene expression array. Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers, 17(5), 395–400. doi:10.1089/gtmb.2012.0437