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Cancer Cell DOI:

Gene expression signatures define novel oncogenic pathways in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsFerrando, AA, Neuberg, DS, Staunton, J, Loh, ML, Huard, C, Raimondi, SC, Behm, FG, Pui, CH, Downing, JR, Gilliland, GD, Lander, ES, Golub, TR, Look, TA
JournalCancer Cell
Pages75 - 87
Date Published2002/02//
ISBN Number1535-6108
KeywordsAdolescent, Antigens, Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors, Cancer, Cell Differentiation, Cell Transformation, Child, DNA-Binding Proteins, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Homeodomain Proteins, Humans, Infant, Leu, Neoplastic, Preschool, Surface

Human T cell leukemias can arise from oncogenes activated by specific chromosomal translocations involving the T cell receptor genes. Here we show that five different T cell oncogenes (HOX11, TAL1, LYL1, LMO1, and LMO2) are often aberrantly expressed in the absence of chromosomal abnormalities. Using oligonucleotide microarrays, we identified several gene expression signatures that were indicative of leukemic arrest at specific stages of normal thymocyte development: LYL1+ signature (pro-T), HOX11+ (early cortical thymocyte), and TAL1+ (late cortical thymocyte). Hierarchical clustering analysis of gene expression signatures grouped samples according to their shared oncogenic pathways and identified HOX11L2 activation as a novel event in T cell leukemogenesis. These findings have clinical importance, since HOX11 activation is significantly associated with a favorable prognosis, while expression of TAL1, LYL1, or, surprisingly, HOX11L2 confers a much worse response to treatment. Our results illustrate the power of gene expression profiles to elucidate transformation pathways relevant to human leukemia.