Targetable kinase gene fusions in high-risk B-ALL: a study from the Children's Oncology Group.Blood. 2017 06 22; 129(25):3352-3361.Blood
Philadelphia chromosome-like (Ph-like) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a high-risk subtype characterized by genomic alterations that activate cytokine receptor and kinase signaling. We examined the frequency and spectrum of targetable genetic lesions in a retrospective cohort of 1389 consecutively diagnosed patients with childhood B-lineage ALL with high-risk clinical features and/or elevated minimal residual disease at the end of remission induction therapy. The Ph-like gene expression profile was identified in 341 of 1389 patients, 57 of whom were excluded from additional analyses because of the presence of BCR-ABL1 (n = 46) or ETV6-RUNX1 (n = 11). Among the remaining 284 patients (20.4%), overexpression and rearrangement of CRLF2 (IGH-CRLF2 or P2RY8-CRLF2) were identified in 124 (43.7%), with concomitant genomic alterations activating the JAK-STAT pathway (JAK1, JAK2, IL7R) identified in 63 patients (50.8% of those with CRLF2 rearrangement). Among the remaining patients, using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction or transcriptome sequencing, we identified targetable ABL-class fusions (ABL1, ABL2, CSF1R, and PDGFRB) in 14.1%, EPOR rearrangements or JAK2 fusions in 8.8%, alterations activating other JAK-STAT signaling genes (IL7R, SH2B3, JAK1) in 6.3% or other kinases (FLT3, NTRK3, LYN) in 4.6%, and mutations involving the Ras pathway (KRAS, NRAS, NF1, PTPN11) in 6% of those with Ph-like ALL. We identified 8 new rearrangement partners for 4 kinase genes previously reported to be rearranged in Ph-like ALL. The current findings provide support for the precision-medicine testing and treatment approach for Ph-like ALL implemented in Children's Oncology Group ALL trials.