Non-driver mutations in myeloproliferative neoplasm-associated myelofibrosis
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We studied non-driver mutations in 62 subjects with myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN)-associated myelofibrosis upon diagnosis, including 45 subjects with primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and 17 with post-polycythemia vera or post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis (post-PV/ET MF). Fifty-eight subjects had ≥1 non-driver mutation upon diagnosis. Mutations in mRNA splicing genes, especially in U2AF1, were significantly more frequent in PMF than in post-PV/ET MF (33 vs. 6%; P = 0.015). There were also striking differences in clonal architecture. These data indicate different genomic spectrums between PMF and post-PV/ET MF.
KeywordsMyeloproliferative neoplasm-associated myelofibrosis Non-driver mutation Targeted gene sequencing
Variant allelic frequency
To the Editor
MPN-associated myelofibrosis is a clinical descriptor encompassing primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and post-polycythemia vera and post-essential thrombocythemia (ET) myelofibrosis (post-PV/ET MF) . Most individuals with MPN-associated myelofibrosis have so-called driver mutations in JAK2, CALR, or MPL. Although the distribution of these mutations is similar in PMF and post-PV/ET MF, some data indicate that the impact of the type of driver mutation on prognosis differs . Recently, non-driver mutations were reported to be associated with the initiation, progression, and prognosis of MPNs [3, 4, 5, 6]. We analyzed whether the landscape of non-driver mutations differed among cohorts.
Forty-five subjects with PMF and 17 with post-PV/ET MF (13 post-PV MF and 4 post-ET MF) were studied. The subjects provided informed consent in compliance with the Declaration of Helsinki (The Ethics Committee of Institute of Hematology and Blood Diseases Hospital; No. KT2015010-EC-1). Diagnoses were based on the revised 2016 criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO) . The median interval from diagnosis of PV or ET to post-PV/ET MF was 12 years (range, 5–30 years). Prognosis was evaluated with the Dynamic International Prognostic Scoring System (DIPSS) . The cytogenetic findings were classified as favorable or unfavorable using the DIPSS-plus classification . Subject-, disease-, and therapy-related variables are displayed in Additional file 1: Table S1.
Targeted gene sequencing was carried out upon diagnosis of myelofibrosis. Non-driver mutations were compared against expected patterns and categorized into oncogenic mutations, possibly oncogenic variants or unknown significance. Germline control DNA was used to ascertain the somatic mutations. To account for the absence of a matched control for some subjects, a bespoke variant selection pipeline was used. Details of the methods are described in the Additional file 2 and Additional file 1: Table S2–S3.
Forty-two subjects with PMF (93%) had ≥1 non-driver mutation. Two of the 17 subjects with no driver mutation in JAK2 V617F , JAK2 exon 12, CALR, or MPL W515 had mutations in SH2B3 or PIAS3 of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway, 13 had mutations in other genes, and 2 had no mutations. Non-driver mutations were detected in 16 subjects with post-PV/ET MF (94%). There was no difference in the median numbers of non-driver mutations in the subjects with PMFs vs. those with post-PV/ET MF (3; [range, 0–5] vs. 3; [range, 0–7]; P = 0.885). There was also no difference in the median numbers of non-driver mutations (3; [range, 0–5] vs. 3 [range, 0–5]; P = 0.668) in the subjects with PMF with and without driver mutations.
Changes in non-driver genes were grouped into several functional pathways. The most frequent mutation targets were genes associated with signal transduction (N = 31), followed by chromatin modification (N = 30), adhesion (N = 18), RNA splicing (N = 16), transcription (N = 15), DNA methylation (N = 15), cell cycle/apoptosis (N = 5), and DNA damage control (N = 4; Fig. 1c). The mutation frequencies of the mRNA splicing genes were significantly different between the subjects with PMF and those with post-PV/ET (33 vs. 6%; P = 0.015). U2AF1 mutations were significantly more common in the subjects with PMF than those with post-PV/ET MF (22 vs. 0; P = 0.008).
In conclusion, we found differences in the non-driver mutation profile and the clonal architecture among the subjects with PMF compared with those with post-PV/ET MF. There was a significant difference in the frequency of the mRNA splicing genes among cohorts, similar to data reported by others [2, 10]. In individuals with PMF, approximately 30% of driver mutations co-occur with non-driver mutations as ancestral events, whereas approximately 20% of driver mutations were in sub-clones. In contrast, driver mutations occurred only in the ancestral clone in most subjects with post-PV/ET MF.
We would like to thank Dr. Jian Wu (MyGenostic Inc., Beijing, China) and Dr. Na Liu (MyGenostic Inc., Beijing, China) for the bioinformatics analysis.
This study was supported in part by the National Natural Science Funds (No. 81530008, No. 81370611, No. 81600098, No. 81270585, No. 81470295), the Program for Peking Union Scholars and Innovative Research Team, PUMC Youth Fund and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 3332016089), and the Science and Technology Project of Tianjin (No. 15ZXLCSY00010). RPG acknowledges the support from the National Institutes of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre funding scheme.
Availability of data and materials
Not applicable. All data are in the manuscript and supplemental materials.
ZJX designed the research, was the principal investigator, prepared the manuscript, and takes primary responsibility for the study; BL acquired, analyzed, and interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript; ZS performed the statistical analyses; PHZ, JQL, and GH acquired the data; ZFX, TJQ, JB, LZ, YZ, and ZJX recruited the subjects; and RPG helped with the data analyses and with the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
RPG is a part-time employee of Celgene Corp. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Consent for publication
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The study design was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Institute of Hematology and Blood Diseases Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, reference KT2015010-EC-1.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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