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3440 Genetic Diversity within Leukemia-Associated Immunophenotype-Defined Subclones in AML

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 617. Acute Myeloid Leukemias: Biomarkers, Molecular Markers and Minimal Residual Disease in Diagnosis and Prognosis: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
AML, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEI/DEIA) , Diseases, Myeloid Malignancies, Technology and Procedures, profiling
Monday, December 13, 2021, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Francesca Tiso, MSc1*, Thessa N. Koorenhof-Scheele1*, Erik Huys1*, Joost H.A. Martens2*, Aniek O. De Graaf, PhD1*, Bert A. van der Reijden, PhD3, Saskia M. C. Langemeijer, MD, PhD4*, Frank W. M. B. Preijers1*, Leonie I. Kroeze5* and Joop H. Jansen, PhD1

1Department of laboratory medicine – laboratory of hematology, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, Netherlands
2Department of Molecular Biology, Radboud Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, Nijmegen, Netherlands
3Department of laboratory medicine – laboratory of hematology, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, GL, Netherlands
4Department of Hematology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands
5Department of Pathology, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous clonal disease and in different patients, different combinations of mutations may be found that drive the disease. Also within patients, various leukemic clones with a different combination of mutations may co-exist, reflecting various evolutionary stages of the disease. At present, flowcytometry and mutational analyses are used to keep track of the malignant cells during and after treatment. Using panels of antibodies, abnormal cells can be identified when lineage markers are over- or underexpressed, or when abnormal differentiation leads to the co-expression of markers that normally are not expressed together on hematopoietic cells. These patient-specific leukemia-associated immunophenptypes (LAIPs) can be followed during and after treatment, and enable the early detection of resistant and recurring disease. Often, several LAIPs are present simultaneously within a patient, but their clonal relationship is not always clear. In addition, next-generation sequencing and mutation-specific PCR can be used to follow the leukemic cells. As the clinical consequences of MRD-positivity may consist of high-dose re-induction chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation, accurate results are of the highest importance. Although it has already been shown that flowcytometry and mutational analysis may have added value, in-depth information on the genetic make-up of immunophenotypically defined normal and leukemic subclones and their clonal relationship in AML is still scarce. To study the genetic similarities and differences between various normal and leukemic subclones defined by immunophenotyping, we performed an in-depth analysis of the genetic makeup of FACS-sorted immunophenotypically normal and aberrant subclones in 10 cases of AML. In total, 86 LAIPs and normal cell fractions were sorted and fully genotyped using error-corrected sequencing with a panel genes that are recurrently mutated in AML. In some cases, different aberrant populations from the same patient carried identical mutations, indicating that the leukemia was highly homogeneous, and that the phenotypically different LAIPs all were part of the same genetic clone. In these cases, monitoring the disease by following one of the present LAIPs would be sufficient, or, alternatively, following disease dynamics by molecularly monitoring one of the mutations would accurately show the dynamics of the disease. In other cases, different subclones harbored a different set of mutations. In addition, immunophenotypically normal populations frequently carried mutations, or, inversely, no mutations were found in immunophenotypically clearly aberrant clones. In these cases, following the disease by LAIPs or molecular markers would carry the risk that several subclones would be missed. In case these clones would be relevant for resistance or relapse, using either technique would be at risk to fail to detect MRD positivity. This work underscores that currently available, state-of-the-art immunophotyping and gene panels have added value and should be used simultaneously. We conclude that currently, MRD detection by molecular and immunophenotypic techniques are complementary, and should be used in parallel in order to obtain the most complete view on resistant disease and early detection of relapse. At the same time, both techniques can be further optimized with more monoclonal antibodies and genes that are screened for mutations, in order to increase their resolution.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH