The t(10;11)(p13;q14 -21) is found in T-ALL and acute myeloid leukemia and fuses CALM (Clathrin-Assembly protein-like Lymphoid-Myeloid leukaemia gene) to AF10. In order to gain insight into the transcriptional consequences of this fusion, microarray-based comparison of CALM-AF10+ vs CALM-AF10- T-ALL was performed. This analysis showed upregulation of HOXA5, HOXA9, HOXA10 and BMI1 in the CALM-AF10+ cases. Microarray results were validated by quantitative RT-PCR on an independent group of T-ALL and compared to mixed lineage leukemia-translocated acute leukemias (MLL-t AL). The overexpression of HOXA genes was associated with overexpression of its cofactor MEIS1 in CALM-AF10+ T-ALL, reaching levels of expression similar to those observed in MLL-t AL. Consequently, CALM-AF10+ T-ALL and MLL-t AL share a specific HOXA overexpression, indicating they activate common oncogenic pathways. In addition, BMI1, located close to AF10 breakpoint, was overexpressed only in CALM-AF10+ T-ALL and not in MLL-t AL. BMI1 controls cellular proliferation through suppression of the tumor suppressors encoded by the CDKN2A locus. This locus, often deleted in T-ALL, was conserved in CALM-AF10+ T-ALL. This suggests that decreased CDKN2A activity, as a result of BMI1 overexpression, contributes to leukemogenesis in CALM-AF10+ T-ALL. We propose to define a HOXA+ leukemia group composed of at least MLL-t, CALM-AF10 and HOXA-t AL, which may benefit from adapted management.

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Department of Immunology

Dik, W.A, Brahim, W, Braun, C, Asnafi, V, Dastugue, N, Bernard, O.A, … Delabesse, E. (2005). CALM-AF10+ T-ALL expression profiles are characterized by overexpression of HOXA and BMI1 oncogenes. Leukemia, 19(11), 1948–1957. doi:10.1038/sj.leu.2403891