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2005 Mitochondrial Spare Reserve Capacity : A New Predictive Metabolic Biomarker for Aggressiveness of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 617. Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Biology, Cytogenetics, and Molecular Markers in Diagnosis and Prognosis: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
cell regulation, Biological Processes, Clinically relevant, pathways
Sunday, December 6, 2020, 7:00 AM-3:30 PM

Quentin Fovez1*, Bruno Quesnel, MD, PhD1,2, William Laine1*, Raeeka Khamari1*, Celine Berthon, MD, PhD1,2*, Laure Goursaud, MD1,2*, Nicolas Germain, MD1,3*, Claude Preudhomme, MD, PhD1,3, Philippe Marchetti, MD, PhD1,3* and Jérôme Kluza, PhD1*

2Service des Maladies du Sang, Hôpital Huriez, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Lille, LILLE, France
3Centre de Biologie-Pathologie, CHU Lille, Lille, France


The persistence of leukemic cells after treatment limits the effectiveness of anticancer drugs and is the cause of relapse in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). After exposure to chemotherapeutic drugs, the survival of leukemic cells is mainly supported by mitochondrial energy metabolism. Several preclinical studies have shown that the combination of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation inhibitors with various anticancer treatments constitutes an effective therapeutic combination in vitro to eradicate the surviving leukemic cells. Evaluating the mitochondrial bioenergetic activity of blasts from AML patients could therefore provide predictive information on treatment response.

The basal oxygen consumption of cells varies according to hematopoietic differentiation and depends on the energy needs in the in vitro condition of measurement. But it is necessary to treat the cells with uncoupling agents (eg FCCP) to assess the maximum activity that the respiratory chain could reach to respond to energy stress. Then, the switch from a basal level of oxygen consumption to a maximum level defines the mitochondrial spare reserve capacity (SRC). In this study, we propose to determine whether spare reserve capacity of blasts is a potential biomarker of AML aggressiveness in patients and to characterize the biochemical processes involved in the control of SRC in leukemic cells.


Using the XFe24 Seahorse fluorometric oximeter, we first determined the mitochondrial oxygen consumption and glycolytic activity in hematopoietic cells (monocytes, lymphocytes, dendritic cells) of healthy donors, in AML patient blasts at diagnosis or at relapse and in AML cell lines (HL-60, MOLM-13, THP-1, KG1, OCI-AML3, MV-4-11, U-937). All measures have been assessed from freshly collected samples of peripheral blood and of bone marrow. As expected, AMLs are characterized by low oxidative phosphorylation activity compared to normal hematopoietic cells. From all the OXPHOS values obtained we defined a SRC threshold above which the SRC is considered high. This threshold has been set at a capacity to increase basal respiration by 250%. From patients blasts, we have therefore defined two groups characterized by high (n=14) or low (n=21) mitochondrial spare reserve capacity.

Blasts with high SRC exhibit high glycolytic activity suggesting a link between spare reserve capacity and glucose metabolism. Using U-13C6 glucose and pharmacological inhibitors, we have demonstrated that the utilization of the mitochondrial spare reserve capacity of leukemic cells is supported through glycolysis and that mitochondrial oxidation of pyruvate is a key element for SRC recruitment. Mitochondrial pyruvate carrier inhibitors (as UK-5099) or gene silencing of BRP44 abolish the SRC of leukemic cells highlighting the importance of pyruvate oxidation to increase oxygen consumption.

Since high mutation rate is recognized as an unfavorable prognostic factor in AML, we have also sequenced 45 commonly genes mutated in AMLs characterized by high or low SRC blasts. Interestingly, DNA sequencing analysis showed that AML with low SRC blasts have a higher mutation rate than high SRC blasts and also exhibited exclusive mutations such as ASXL1 (25%), IDH2 (25%), NPM1 (25%), IDH1 (13%), JAK2 (13%) and SF3B1 (13%).


Currently, most of the clinical biomarkers used to predict AML aggressiveness are based on DNA analysis, but the emergence of mutations is not always associated with phenotypic changes. This study shows that the mitochondrial spare reserve capacity of blasts represents a new functional biomarker based on the assessment of the energetic phenotype and could help the clinicians to determine the prognosis of AML. Moreover we have showed that altering pyruvate metabolism highly decrease spare reserve capacity of blasts and then could be evaluated as metabolic strategies to improve the therapeutic response in patients with AML.

Disclosures: Kluza: Daiichi-Sankyo: Research Funding.

*signifies non-member of ASH