Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) is a well-defined disease characterized by a typical morphology of leukaemic cells, the presence of t(15;17) translocation and the unique sensitivity to the differentiating effect of all-trans retinoic acid. Nevertheless, some aspects are variable among APL patients, with differences substantially related to morphological variants, peripheral leukocytes count, the presence of a disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, different PML/RAR alpha isoforms ( long, variable or short) and Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (Flt3) mutations. In order to better define this variability, we investigated the gene expression profiles of 18 APL cases revealing, besides a high uniformity in gene expression pattern, the presence of few robust differences among patients able to identify, by an unsupervised analysis, two major clusters of patients characterized by different phenotypes (hypogranular M3v vs classical M3) and by the presence or absence of Flt3 internal tandem duplications (ITDs). Further supervised analysis confirmed that Flt3 status was the APL parameter best associated with these two subgroups. We identified, between Flt3 wild-type and Flt3-ITDs subsets, 147 differentially expressed genes that were involved in the cytoskeleton organization, in the cell adhesion and migration, in the proliferation and the coagulation/inflammation pathways as well as in differentiation and myeloid granules constitution suggesting a role of Flt3 mutations in the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of APL.
Gene expression profiling of acute promyelocytic leukaemia identifies two subtypes mainly associated with Flt3 mutational status / Marasca, Roberto; Maffei, Rossana; Zucchini, Patrizia; Castelli, Ilaria; Saviola, A; Martinelli, Silvia; Ferrari, Alberto; Fontana, M; Ravanetti, S; Torelli, Giuseppe. - In: LEUKEMIA. - ISSN 0887-6924. - STAMPA. - 20:(2006), pp. 103-114.