Revisiting CLEC12A as leukaemic stem cell marker in AML: highlighting the necessity of precision diagnostics in patients eligible for targeted therapy

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Targeted therapy directed against rare disease-propagating leukaemic stem cells (LSCs) is a promising prospect for improving the outcome of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients. Thus, distinguishing LSCs from normal haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) is essential. The CLEC12A receptor has been proposed as a specific marker of LSCs, and consequently as an appealing treatment target. To explore the role of CLEC12A in further detail, we investigated whether a sorting strategy based on the activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase and CLEC12A expression could separate residual normal HSPCs from LSCs in bone marrow from 5 AML patients. We demonstrate that this distinction was possible in 2/5 cases, however with evidence of pre-leukaemic mutations in the CLEC12A- stem cells in one case. In contrast, cytogenetic and/or molecular aberrations were detected in both the CLEC12A+/- cell subsets in 3/5 AML cases studied. Furthermore, targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) of the sorted cell subsets revealed a pronounced clonal heterogeneity in the CLEC12A- cells suggestive of the leukaemia often originating in this immature cell subset. In conclusion, we provide proof-of-concept that precision diagnostics employing targeted cytogenetic/NGS-based analyses on highly purified cell subsets could be a powerful tool for selecting patients eligible for LSC-directed therapy.

TidsskriftBritish Journal of Haematology
Sider (fra-til)769-781
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2019

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© 2018 British Society for Haematology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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