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Blood Res. 2015 Mar;50(1):26-32. English. Original Article.
Musialik E , Bujko M , Kober P , Wypych A , Gawle-Krawczyk K , Matysiak M , Siedlecki JA .
Department of Molecular and Translational Oncology, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
Department of Pediatric Haematology & Oncology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.

BACKGROUND: Precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-cell ALL) is the most common neoplasm in children and is characterized by genetic and epigenetic aberrations in hematopoietic transcription factor (TF) genes. This study evaluated promoter DNA methylation and aberrant expression levels of early- and late-acting hematopoietic TF genes homeobox A4 and A5 (HOXA4 and HOXA5), Meis homeobox 1 (MEIS1), T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia 1 (TAL1), and interferon regulatory factors 4 and 8 (IRF4 and IRF8) in pediatric B-cell ALL. METHODS: Blood samples of 38 ALL patients and 20 controls were obtained. DNA was treated with sodium bisulfite and DNA methylation level of HOXA4, HOXA5, MEIS1, TAL1, IRF4, and IRF8 was assessed using quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Relative gene expression was measured using quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. RESULTS: Aberrant methylation of TAL1, IRF8, MEIS1, and IRF4 was observed in 26.3%, 7.9%, 5.3%, and 2.6% patients, respectively, but not in controls. HOXA4 and HOXA5 were methylated in some controls and hypermethylated in 16% and 5% patients, respectively. IRF8, MEIS1, and TAL1 expression was lower in patients than in controls. MEIS1 expression was inversely correlated with white blood cell (WBC) count. HOXA4 expression was down-regulated in patients with high risk according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) classification. TAL1 methylation was slightly elevated in patients aged >9 years and in patients showing relapse, suggesting its potential prognostic value. CONCLUSION: Aberrant methylation and expression of the selected hematopoietic genes were correlated with demographic/clinical prognostic factors of pediatric ALL, such as age, WBC count, and NCI risk classification.

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