Fludarabine refractoriness (FR) represents an unsolved clinical problem of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) management. Although next-generation sequencing studies have led to the identification of a number of genes frequently mutated in FR-CLL, a comprehensive evaluation of the FR-CLL genome has not been reported. Toward this end, we studied 10 FR-CLLs by combining whole-exome sequencing and copy number aberration (CNA) analysis, which showed an average of 16.3 somatic mutations and 4 CNAs per sample. Screening of recurrently mutated genes in 48 additional FR-CLLs revealed that ∼70% of FR-CLLs carry ≥1 mutation in genes previously associated with CLL clinical course, including TP53 (27.5%), NOTCH1 (24.1%), SF3B1 (18.9%), and BIRC3 (15.5%). In addition, this analysis showed that 10.3% of FR-CLL cases display mutations of the FAT1 gene, which encodes for a cadherin-like protein that negatively regulates Wnt signaling, consistent with a tumor suppressor role. The frequency of FAT1 -mutated cases was significantly higher in FR-CLL than in unselected CLLs at diagnosis (10.3% vs 1.1%, P 5 .004), suggesting a role in the development of a high-risk phenotype. These findings have general implications for the mechanisms leading to FR and point to Wnt signaling as a potential therapeutic target in FR-CLL.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology