Gene Summary

Gene:TLX3; T cell leukemia homeobox 3
Aliases: RNX, HOX11L2
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is an orphan homeobox protein that encodes a DNA-binding nuclear transcription factor. A translocation [t(5;14)(q35;q32)] involving this gene is associated with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) in children and young adults. [provided by RefSeq, Nov 2015]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:T-cell leukemia homeobox protein 3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mutation
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Chromosome 5
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Leukaemia
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Promoter Regions
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Infant
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Chromosome 14
  • Adult T-Cell Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Survival Rate
  • DNA Methylation
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Adolescents
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Immunophenotyping
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • FISH
  • Transcription
  • T-Cell Leukemia
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Homeobox Genes
Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: TLX3 (cancer-related)

Pineda B, Diaz-Lagares A, Pérez-Fidalgo JA, et al.
A two-gene epigenetic signature for the prediction of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer patients.
Clin Epigenetics. 2019; 11(1):33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pathological complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) varies between 30 and 40% approximately. To provide further insight into the prediction of pCR, we evaluated the role of an epigenetic methylation-based signature.
METHODS: Epigenetic assessment of DNA extracted from biopsy archived samples previous to NAC from TNBC patients was performed. Patients included were categorized according to previous response to NAC in responder (pCR or residual cancer burden, RCB = 0) or non-responder (non-pCR or RCB > 0) patients. A methyloma study was performed in a discovery cohort by the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (450K array) from Illumina. The epigenetic silencing of those methylated genes in the discovery cohort were validated by bisulfite pyrosequencing (PyroMark Q96 System version 2.0.6, Qiagen) and qRT-PCR in an independent cohort of TN patients and in TN cell lines.
RESULTS: Twenty-four and 30 patients were included in the discovery and validation cohorts, respectively. In the discovery cohort, nine genes were differentially methylated: six presented higher methylation in non-responder patients (LOC641519, LEF1, HOXA5, EVC2, TLX3, CDKL2) and three greater methylation in responder patients (FERD3L, CHL1, and TRIP10). After validation, a two-gene (FER3L and TRIP10) epigenetic score predicted RCB = 0 with an area under the ROC curve (AUC) = 0.905 (95% CI = 0.805-1.000). Patients with a positive epigenetic two-gene score showed 78.6% RCB = 0 versus only 10.7% RCB = 0 if signature were negative.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that pCR in TNBC could be accurately predicted with an epigenetic signature of FERD3L and TRIP10 genes. Further prospective validation of these findings is warranted.

Vanden Bempt M, Demeyer S, Broux M, et al.
Cooperative Enhancer Activation by TLX1 and STAT5 Drives Development of NUP214-ABL1/TLX1-Positive T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Cancer Cell. 2018; 34(2):271-285.e7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The NUP214-ABL1 fusion is a constitutively activated tyrosine kinase that is significantly associated with overexpression of the TLX1 and TLX3 transcription factors in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Here we show that NUP214-ABL1 cooperates with TLX1 in driving T-ALL development using a transgenic mouse model and human T-ALL cells. Using integrated ChIP-sequencing, ATAC-sequencing, and RNA-sequencing data, we demonstrate that TLX1 and STAT5, the downstream effector of NUP214-ABL1, co-bind poised enhancer regions, and cooperatively activate the expression of key proto-oncogenes such as MYC and BCL2. Inhibition of STAT5, downregulation of TLX1 or MYC, or interference with enhancer function through BET-inhibitor treatment leads to reduction of target gene expression and induction of leukemia cell death.

Nagel S, Meyer C, Kaufmann M, et al.
Aberrant activity of NKL homeobox gene NKX3-2 in a T-ALL subset.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(5):e0197194 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a hematopoietic malignancy originating from T-cell progenitors in which differentiation is blocked at early stages. Physiological expression of specific NKL homeobox genes obeys a hematopoietic NKL-code implicated in the process of lymphopoiesis while in differentiated T-cells these genes are silenced. We propose that this developmental expression pattern underlies the observation that NKL homeobox genes are the most ubiquitous group of transcription factors deregulated in T-ALL, including TLX1, TLX3, NKX2-5 and NKX3-1. Here, we describe a novel member of the NKL homeobox gene subclass, NKX3-2 (BAPX1), which is aberrantly activated in 18% of pediatric T-ALL patients analyzed while being normally expressed in developing spleen. Identification of NKX3-2 expression in T-ALL cell line CCRF-CEM qualified these cells to model its deregulation and function in a leukemic context. Genomic and chromosomal analyses demonstrated normal configuration of the NKX3-2 locus at chromosome 4p15, thus excluding cytogenetic dysregulation. Comparative expression profiling analysis of NKX3-2 patient data revealed deregulated activity of BMP- and MAPK-signalling. These candidate pathways were experimentally confirmed to mediate aberrant NKX3-2 expression. We also show that homeobox gene SIX6, plus MIR17HG and GATA3 are downstream targets of NKX3-2 and plausibly contribute to the pathogenesis of this malignancy by suppressing T-cell differentiation. Finally, NKL homeobox gene NKX2-5 was activated by NKX3-2 in CCRF-CEM and by FOXG1 in PEER, representing mutually inhibitory activators of this translocated oncogene. Together, our findings reveal a novel oncogenic NKL homeobox gene subclass member which is aberrantly expressed in a large subset of T-ALL patients and participates in a deregulated gene network likely to arise in developing spleen.

Nagel S, Pommerenke C, Scherr M, et al.
NKL homeobox gene activities in hematopoietic stem cells, T-cell development and T-cell leukemia.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(2):e0171164 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells represent developmentally arrested T-cell progenitors, subsets of which aberrantly express homeobox genes of the NKL subclass, including TLX1, TLX3, NKX2-1, NKX2-5, NKX3-1 and MSX1. Here, we analyzed the transcriptional landscape of all 48 members of the NKL homeobox gene subclass in CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) and during lymphopoiesis, identifying activities of nine particular genes. Four of these were expressed in HSPCs (HHEX, HLX1, NKX2-3 and NKX3-1) and three in common lymphoid progenitors (HHEX, HLX1 and MSX1). Interestingly, our data indicated downregulation of NKL homeobox gene transcripts in late progenitors and mature T-cells, a phenomenon which might explain the oncogenic impact of this group of genes in T-ALL. Using MSX1-expressing T-ALL cell lines as models, we showed that HHEX activates while HLX1, NKX2-3 and NKX3-1 repress MSX1 transcription, demonstrating the mutual regulation and differential activities of these homeobox genes. Analysis of a public T-ALL expression profiling data set comprising 117 patient samples identified 20 aberrantly activated members of the NKL subclass, extending the number of known NKL homeobox oncogene candidates. While 7/20 genes were also active during hematopoiesis, the remaining 13 showed ectopic expression. Finally, comparative analyses of T-ALL patient and cell line profiling data of NKL-positive and NKL-negative samples indicated absence of shared target genes but instead highlighted deregulation of apoptosis as common oncogenic effect. Taken together, we present a comprehensive survey of NKL homeobox genes in early hematopoiesis, T-cell development and T-ALL, showing that these genes generate an NKL-code for the diverse stages of lymphoid development which might be fundamental for regular differentiation.

Noronha EP, Andrade FG, Zampier C, et al.
Immunophenotyping with CD135 and CD117 predicts the FLT3, IL-7R and TLX3 gene mutations in childhood T-cell acute leukemia.
Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2016; 57:74-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
With the combination of immunophenotyping and molecular tests, it is still a challenge to identify the characteristics of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) associated with distinct outcomes. This study tests the possible correlation of cellular expression of CD135 and CD117 with somatic gene mutations in T-ALL. One hundred sixty-two samples were tested, including 143 at diagnosis, 15 from T-lymphoblastic lymphoma at relapse, and four relapse samples from sequential follow-up of T-ALL. CD135 and CD117 monoclonal antibodies were included in the T-ALL panel of flow cytometry. The percentage of cells positivity and the median fluorescence intensity were correlated with gene mutational status. STIL-TAL1, TLX3, FLT3 and IL7R mutations were tested using standard techniques. STIL-TAL1 was found in 24.8%, TLX3 in 12%, IL7R in 10% and FLT3-ITD in 5% of cases. FLT3 and IL7R mutations were mutually exclusive, as were FLT3-ITD and STIL-TAL1. Associations of CD135(high) (p<0.01), CD117(intermediate/high) (p=0.02) and FLT3-ITD, CD117(low) with IL7R(mutated) (p<0.01) and CD135(high) with TLX3(pos) were observed. We conclude that the addition of CD135 and CD117 to the diagnosis can predict molecular aberrations in T-ALL settings, mainly segregating patients with FLT3-ITD, who would benefit from treatment with inhibitors of tyrosine.

Ecke TH
Biomarker in Cisplatin-Based Chemotherapy for Urinary Bladder Cancer.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015; 867:293-316 [PubMed] Related Publications
The treatment of metastasized bladder cancer has been evolving during recent years. Cisplatin based chemotherapy combinations are still gold standard in the treatment of advanced and metastasized bladder cancer. But new therapies are approaching. Based to this fact biological markers will become more important for decisions in bladder cancer treatment. A systematic MEDLINE search of the key words "cisplatin", "bladder cancer", "DNA marker", "protein marker", "methylation biomarker", "predictive marker", "prognostic marker" has been made. This review aims to highlight the most relevant clinical and experimental studies investigating markers for metastasized transitional carcinoma of the urothelium treated by cisplatin based regimens.

Ansari MH, Irani S, Edalat H, et al.
Deregulation of miR-93 and miR-143 in human esophageal cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(3):3097-103 [PubMed] Related Publications
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is the second and third most common malignancy in Iranian males and females, respectively. Treatment of ESCC is largely ineffective due to lack of detection at early stages of the disease. In recent years, miRNA, a small RNA molecule, has drawn much attention to researchers as a potential biomarker for esophageal cancer. miR-93 and miR-143 are two miRNA molecules reported to be frequently deregulated in various cancers, including prostate, stomach, cervix, and etc. The purpose of this study was to investigate the expression levels of these miRNAs and evaluate their diagnostic and therapeutic potential in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. In this study, total RNA was extracted from 30 tumor tissues and 30 nontumor tissues of esophageal tumor margins, using RNX-plus solution. After validating the quality and quantity of total RNA, cDNAs of interest were synthesized using microRNA-specific cDNA Synthesis Kit. The expression level of miR-93 and miR-143 was evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR with miRNA-specific primers. Finally, the obtained data was analyzed by SPSS ver.20 software and paired t test was performed to observe the significance of difference between groups. The expression level of miR-93 was significantly increased and of miR-143 was significantly decreased in most of the examined tumor tissues, compared to nontumor tissues. Also, our findings did not detect correlation between mir-93 and mir-143 expressions in regard to stage and grade of the samples. These findings suggest that the deregulation of these miRNAs may play an important role in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Both miR-93 and miR-143 might be used as potential biomarkers in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. However, more studies with large population of samples are necessary.

Peirs S, Matthijssens F, Goossens S, et al.
ABT-199 mediated inhibition of BCL-2 as a novel therapeutic strategy in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Blood. 2014; 124(25):3738-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a high-risk subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with gradually improved survival through introduction of intensified chemotherapy. However, therapy-resistant or refractory T-ALL remains a major clinical challenge. Here, we evaluated B-cell lymphoma (BCL)-2 inhibition by the BH3 mimetic ABT-199 as a new therapeutic strategy in human T-ALL. The T-ALL cell line LOUCY, which shows a transcriptional program related to immature T-ALL, exhibited high in vitro and in vivo sensitivity for ABT-199 in correspondence with high levels of BCL-2. In addition, ABT-199 showed synergistic therapeutic effects with different chemotherapeutic agents including doxorubicin, l-asparaginase, and dexamethasone. Furthermore, in vitro analysis of primary patient samples indicated that some immature, TLX3- or HOXA-positive primary T-ALLs are highly sensitive to BCL-2 inhibition, whereas TAL1 driven tumors mostly showed poor ABT-199 responses. Because BCL-2 shows high expression in early T-cell precursors and gradually decreases during normal T-cell differentiation, differences in ABT-199 sensitivity could partially be mediated by distinct stages of differentiation arrest between different molecular genetic subtypes of human T-ALL. In conclusion, our study highlights BCL-2 as an attractive molecular target in specific subtypes of human T-ALL that could be exploited by ABT-199.

Ma J, Hua J, Sha Y, Xie Y
The effect of TLX3 expression on the prognosis of pediatric T cell acute lymphocytic leukemia--a systematic review.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(9):8439-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Whether TLX3 is a predictor of prognosis of pediatric T cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (T-ALL) is controversial, with some studies concluding that it is and others concluding the opposite. Therefore, a systematic review was performed to explore the relationship of TLX3 expression with the prognosis of pediatric T-ALL. The PubMed database, The Cochrane Library, conference proceedings, EMBASE databases, and references of published trials and review articles were searched. Two reviewers independently assessed the quality of the trials and extracted data. Hazard ratios (HRs) for disease-free survival (DFS) and odds ratios (OR) for 5-year DFS were pooled using the STATA package. Ultimately, six trials involving 515 patients with pediatric T-ALL were analyzed. The pooled HR (1.07 [0.32, 3.56], p = 0.91) for DFS and OR (1.30 [0.52, 3.27], p = 0.57) for 5-year DFS showed that the TLX3-positive group showed no statistically significant difference with the TLX3-negative group. Our results suggested that TLX3 expression is not an indicator for the prognosis of pediatric T-ALL.

Chatterton Z, Burke D, Emslie KR, et al.
Validation of DNA methylation biomarkers for diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Clin Chem. 2014; 60(7):995-1003 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: DNA methylation biomarkers capable of diagnosis and subtyping have been found for many cancers. Fifteen such markers have previously been identified for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Validation of these markers is necessary to assess their clinical utility for molecular diagnostics. Substantial efficiencies could be achieved with these DNA methylation markers for disease tracking with potential to replace patient-specific genetic testing.
METHODS: We evaluated DNA methylation of promoter regions of TLX3 (T-cell leukemia homeobox) and FOXE3 (forkhead box E3) in bone marrow biopsies from 197 patients classified as leukemic (n = 95) or clear of the disease (n = 102) by MALDI-TOF. Using a single nucleotide extension assay (methylSABER), we tested 10 bone marrow biopsies collected throughout the course of patient chemotherapy. Using reference materials, diagnostic thresholds and limits of detection were characterized for both methods.
RESULTS: Reliable detection of DNA methylation of TLX3 and FOXE3 segregated ALL from those clear of disease with minimal false-negative and false-positive results. The limit of detection with MALDI-TOF was 1000-5000 copies of methylated allele. For methylSABER, the limit of detection was 10 copies of methylated TLX3, which enabled monitoring of minimal residual disease in ALL patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Mass spectrometry procedures can be used to regionally multiplex and detect rare DNA methylation events, establish DNA methylation loci as clinically applicable biomarkers for disease diagnosis, and track pediatric ALL.

Pradhan MP, Desai A, Palakal MJ
Systems biology approach to stage-wise characterization of epigenetic genes in lung adenocarcinoma.
BMC Syst Biol. 2013; 7:141 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epigenetics refers to the reversible functional modifications of the genome that do not correlate to changes in the DNA sequence. The aim of this study is to understand DNA methylation patterns across different stages of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD).
RESULTS: Our study identified 72, 93 and 170 significant DNA methylated genes in Stages I, II and III respectively. A set of common 34 significant DNA methylated genes located in the promoter section of the true CpG islands were found across stages, and these were: HOX genes, FOXG1, GRIK3, HAND2, PRKCB, etc. Of the total significant DNA methylated genes, 65 correlated with transcription function. The epigenetic analysis identified the following novel genes across all stages: PTGDR, TLX3, and POU4F2. The stage-wise analysis observed the appearance of NEUROG1 gene in Stage I and its re-appearance in Stage III. The analysis showed similar epigenetic pattern across Stage I and Stage III. Pathway analysis revealed important signaling and metabolic pathways of LUAD to correlate with epigenetics. Epigenetic subnetwork analysis identified a set of seven conserved genes across all stages: UBC, KRAS, PIK3CA, PIK3R3, RAF1, BRAF, and RAP1A. A detailed literature analysis elucidated epigenetic genes like FOXG1, HLA-G, and NKX6-2 to be known as prognostic targets.
CONCLUSION: Integrating epigenetic information for genes with expression data can be useful for comprehending in-depth disease mechanism and for the ultimate goal of better target identification.

La Starza R, Lettieri A, Pierini V, et al.
Linking genomic lesions with minimal residual disease improves prognostic stratification in children with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Leuk Res. 2013; 37(8):928-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multiple lesions in genes that are involved in cell cycle control, proliferation, survival and differentiation underlie T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). We translated these biological insights into clinical practice to improve diagnostic work-ups and patient management. Combined interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (CI-FISH), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and gene expression profiles (GEP) were applied in 51 children with T-ALL who were stratified according to minimal residual disease (MRD) risk categories (AIEOP-BFM ALL2000). CI-FISH identified type A abnormalities in 90% of patients. Distribution of each was in line with the estimated incidence in childhood T-ALL: 37.5% TAL/LMO, 22.5% HOXA, 20% TLX3, 7.5% TLX1, and 2.5% NKX2-1. GEP predictions concurred. SNP detected type B abnormalities in all cases, thus linking type A and B lesions. This approach provided an accurate, comprehensive genomic diagnosis and a complementary GEP-based classification of T-ALL in children. Dissecting primary and secondary lesions within MRD categories could improve prognostic criteria for the majority of patients and be a step towards personalized diagnosis.

Lee K, Byun K, Hong W, et al.
Proteome-wide discovery of mislocated proteins in cancer.
Genome Res. 2013; 23(8):1283-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Several studies have sought systematically to identify protein subcellular locations, but an even larger task is to map which of these proteins conditionally relocates in disease (the mislocalizome). Here, we report an integrative computational framework for mapping conditional location and mislocation of proteins on a proteome-wide scale, called a conditional location predictor (CoLP). Using CoLP, we mapped the locations of over 10,000 proteins in normal human brain and in glioma. The prediction showed 0.9 accuracy using 100 location tests of 20 randomly selected proteins. Of the 10,000 proteins, over 150 have a strong likelihood of mislocation under glioma, which is striking considering that few mislocation events have been identified in this disease previously. Using immunofluorescence and Western blotting in both primary cells and tissues, we successfully experimentally confirmed 15 mislocations. The most common type of mislocation occurs between the endoplasmic reticulum and the nucleus; for example, for RNF138, TLX3, and NFRKB. In particular, we found that the gene for the mislocating protein GFRA4 had a nonsynonymous point mutation in exon 2. Moreover, redirection of GFRA4 to its normal location, the plasma membrane, led to marked reductions in phospho-STAT3 and proliferation of glioma cells. This framework has the potential to track changes in protein location in many human diseases.

Nagel S, Ehrentraut S, Tomasch J, et al.
Ectopic expression of homeobox gene NKX2-1 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is mediated by aberrant chromatin modifications.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(4):e61447 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Homeobox genes encode transcription factors ubiquitously involved in basic developmental processes, deregulation of which promotes cell transformation in multiple cancers including hematopoietic malignancies. In particular, NKL-family homeobox genes TLX1, TLX3 and NKX2-5 are ectopically activated by chromosomal rearrangements in T-cell neoplasias. Here, using transcriptional microarray profiling and RQ-PCR we identified ectopic expression of NKL-family member NKX2-1, in a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell line SU-DHL-5. Moreover, in silico analysis demonstrated NKX2-1 overexpression in 5% of examined DLBCL patient samples. NKX2-1 is physiologically expressed in lung and thyroid tissues where it regulates differentiation. Chromosomal and genomic analyses excluded rearrangements at the NKX2-1 locus in SU-DHL-5, implying alternative activation. Comparative expression profiling implicated several candidate genes in NKX2-1 regulation, variously encoding transcription factors, chromatin modifiers and signaling components. Accordingly, siRNA-mediated knockdown and overexpression studies confirmed involvement of transcription factor HEY1, histone methyltransferase MLL and ubiquitinated histone H2B in NKX2-1 deregulation. Chromosomal aberrations targeting MLL at 11q23 and the histone gene cluster HIST1 at 6p22 which we observed in SU-DHL-5 may, therefore, represent fundamental mutations mediating an aberrant chromatin structure at NKX2-1. Taken together, we identified ectopic expression of NKX2-1 in DLBCL cells, representing the central player in an oncogenic regulative network compromising B-cell differentiation. Thus, our data extend the paradigm of NKL homeobox gene deregulation in lymphoid malignancies.

Kang DH, Kim SH, Jun JW, et al.
Simultaneous translocation of both TCR Loci (14q11) with rare partner loci (Xq22 and 12p13) in a case of T-lymphoblastic leukemia.
Ann Lab Med. 2012; 32(3):220-4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The most common recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities in T-lymphoblastic leukemia (T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia [T-ALL]) involve T-cell receptor (TCR) loci and a variety of partner genes, including HOX11, HOX11L2, MYC, and TAL1. In this report, we present a rare case involving simultaneous translocation of the TCR α/δ loci with different partner loci (Xq22 and 12p13); this resulted in a poor prognosis. Chromosomal analysis showed 46,Y,t(X;14)(q22;q11.2),t(12;14)(p13;q11.2) and FISH analysis by using a T-cell receptor alpha delta DNA probe, Split Signal (DakoCytomation, Denmark), showed translocations at the same TCR α/δ locus on both chromosomes. FISH with 2 bacterial artificial chromosome clones showed break apart signal, which suggests involvement of the IRS4 gene. To our knowledge, this is the first report of T-ALL in which both TCR α/δ loci were translocated with different partner loci, and 1 of the partner loci, Xq22, was a rare translocation partner locus that included IRS4 gene.

Dadi S, Le Noir S, Payet-Bornet D, et al.
TLX homeodomain oncogenes mediate T cell maturation arrest in T-ALL via interaction with ETS1 and suppression of TCRα gene expression.
Cancer Cell. 2012; 21(4):563-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALLs) are characterized by multistep oncogenic processes leading to cell-differentiation arrest and proliferation. Specific abrogation of maturation blockage constitutes a promising therapeutic option in cancer, which requires precise understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms. We show that the cortical thymic maturation arrest in T-lineage ALLs that overexpress TLX1 or TLX3 is due to binding of TLX1/TLX3 to ETS1, leading to repression of T cell receptor (TCR) α enhanceosome activity and blocked TCR-Jα rearrangement. TLX1/TLX3 abrogation or enforced TCRαβ expression leads to TCRα rearrangement and apoptosis. Importantly, the autoextinction of clones carrying TCRα-driven TLX1 expression supports TLX "addiction" in TLX-positive leukemias and provides further rationale for targeted therapy based on disruption of TLX1/TLX3.

Chen B, Wang YY, Shen Y, et al.
Newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia in China (I): abnormal genetic patterns in 1346 childhood and adult cases and their comparison with the reports from Western countries.
Leukemia. 2012; 26(7):1608-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
It has been generally acknowledged that the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis evaluation of leukemia largely rely on an adequate identification of genetic abnormalities. A systemic analysis of genetic aberrations was performed in a cohort of 1346 patients with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in China. The pediatric patients had higher incidence of hyperdiploidy and t(12;21) (p13;q22)/ETV6-RUNX1 than adults (P<0.0001); in contrast, the occurrence of Ph and Ik6 variant of IKZF1 gene was much more frequent in adult patients (all P<0.0001). In B-ALL, the existence of Ik6 and that of BCR-ABL were statistically correlated (P<0.0001). In comparison with Western cohorts, the incidence of t(9;22) (q34;q11)/BCR-ABL (14.60%) in B-ALL and HOX11 expression in T-ALL (25.24%) seemed to be much higher in our group, while the incidence of t(12;21) (p13;q22)/ETV6-RUNX1 (15.34%) seemed to be lower in Chinese pediatric patients. The occurrence of hyperdiploidy was much lower either in pediatric (10.61% vs 20-38%) or adult patients (2.36% vs 6.77-12%) in our study than in Western reports. In addition, the frequencies of HOX11L2 in adult patients were much higher in our cohort than in Western countries (20.69% vs 4-11%). In general, it seems that Chinese ALL patients bear more adverse prognostic factors than their Western counterparts do.

Della Gatta G, Palomero T, Perez-Garcia A, et al.
Reverse engineering of TLX oncogenic transcriptional networks identifies RUNX1 as tumor suppressor in T-ALL.
Nat Med. 2012; 18(3):436-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The TLX1 and TLX3 transcription factor oncogenes have a key role in the pathogenesis of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Here we used reverse engineering of global transcriptional networks to decipher the oncogenic regulatory circuit controlled by TLX1 and TLX3. This systems biology analysis defined T cell leukemia homeobox 1 (TLX1) and TLX3 as master regulators of an oncogenic transcriptional circuit governing T-ALL. Notably, a network structure analysis of this hierarchical network identified RUNX1 as a key mediator of the T-ALL induced by TLX1 and TLX3 and predicted a tumor-suppressor role for RUNX1 in T cell transformation. Consistent with these results, we identified recurrent somatic loss-of-function mutations in RUNX1 in human T-ALL. Overall, these results place TLX1 and TLX3 at the top of an oncogenic transcriptional network controlling leukemia development, show the power of network analyses to identify key elements in the regulatory circuits governing human cancer and identify RUNX1 as a tumor-suppressor gene in T-ALL.

Homminga I, Pieters R, Meijerink JP
NKL homeobox genes in leukemia.
Leukemia. 2012; 26(4):572-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
NK-like (NKL) homeobox genes code for transcription factors, which can act as key regulators in fundamental cellular processes. NKL genes have been implicated in divergent types of cancer. In this review, we summarize the involvement of NKL genes in cancer and leukemia in particular. NKL genes can act as tumor-suppressor genes and as oncogenes, depending on tissue type. Aberrant expression of NKL genes is especially common in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). In T-ALL, 8 NKL genes have been reported to be highly expressed in specific T-ALL subgroups, and in ~30% of cases, high expression is caused by chromosomal rearrangement of 1 of 5 NKL genes. Most of these NKL genes are normally not expressed in T-cell development. We hypothesize that the NKL genes might share a similar downstream effect that promotes leukemogenesis, possibly due to mimicking a NKL gene that has a physiological role in early hematopoietic development, such as HHEX. All eight NKL genes posses a conserved Eh1 repressor motif, which has an important role in regulating downstream targets in hematopoiesis and possibly in leukemogenesis as well. Identification of a potential common leukemogenic NKL downstream pathway will provide a promising subject for future studies.

Zenatti PP, Ribeiro D, Li W, et al.
Oncogenic IL7R gain-of-function mutations in childhood T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nat Genet. 2011; 43(10):932-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interleukin 7 (IL-7) and its receptor, formed by IL-7Rα (encoded by IL7R) and γc, are essential for normal T-cell development and homeostasis. Here we show that IL7R is an oncogene mutated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). We find that 9% of individuals with T-ALL have somatic gain-of-function IL7R exon 6 mutations. In most cases, these IL7R mutations introduce an unpaired cysteine in the extracellular juxtamembrane-transmembrane region and promote de novo formation of intermolecular disulfide bonds between mutant IL-7Rα subunits, thereby driving constitutive signaling via JAK1 and independently of IL-7, γc or JAK3. IL7R mutations induce a gene expression profile partially resembling that provoked by IL-7 and are enriched in the T-ALL subgroup comprising TLX3 rearranged and HOXA deregulated cases. Notably, IL7R mutations promote cell transformation and tumor formation. Overall, our findings indicate that IL7R mutational activation is involved in human T-cell leukemogenesis, paving the way for therapeutic targeting of IL-7R-mediated signaling in T-ALL.

Tao R, Li J, Xin J, et al.
Methylation profile of single hepatocytes derived from hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(5):e19862 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: With the development of high-throughput screening, a variety of genetic alterations has been found in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although previous studies on HCC methylation profiles have focused on liver tissue, studies using isolated hepatocytes are rare. The heterogeneity of liver composition may impact the genuine methylation status of HCC; therefore, it is important to clarify the methylation profile of hepatocytes to aid in understanding the process of tumorigenesis.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: The global methylation profile of single hepatocytes isolated from liver tissue of hepatitis B virus (HBV) related HCC (HBHC) was analyzed using Illumina Infinium Human Methylation27 BeadChips, and combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA) and bisulfite sequencing were used to validate the 20 significant hypermethylated genes identified. In this study, we found many noteworthy differences in the genome-wide methylation profiles of single hepatocytes of HBHC. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis showed that hepatocyte methylation profiles could be classified according to three cell types: hepatocytes of HCC, adjacent hepatocytes and normal hepatocytes. Among the 20 most hypermethylated genes in the hepatocytes of HBHC, 7 novel genes (WNK2, EMILIN2, TLX3, TM6SF1, TRIM58, HIST1H4Fand GRASP) were found to be hypermethylated in HBHC and hypomethylated in paired adjacent liver tissues; these findings have not been reported in previous studies on tissue samples.
CONCLUSION: The genome-wide methylation profile of purified single hepatocytes of HBHC was aided in understanding the process of tumorigenesis, and a series of novel methylated genes found in this study have the potential to be biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of HBHC.

Tada Y, Yokomizo A, Shiota M, et al.
Aberrant DNA methylation of T-cell leukemia, homeobox 3 modulates cisplatin sensitivity in bladder cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2011; 39(3):727-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
The development of resistance to cisplatin during treatment of bladder cancer constitutes a major obstacle to curing bladder cancer. The identification of epigenetic biomarker molecules for cisplatin resistance and the elucidation of the function of the identified genes in bladder cancer will provide useful information. We found that the candidate gene TLX3 was unmethylated in cisplatin sensitive cells and methylated in resistant cells. The suppression of TLX3 expression using TLX3-specific shRNA in parental cells increased cisplatin resistance. Contrarily, overexpression of TLX3 in resistant cells induced increased sensitivity to cisplatin. We found that 22 (21%) out of 110 clinical samples of bladder cancer showed the methylated pattern using the COBRA assay in TLX3. We found a correlation between TLX3 methylation and the sensitivity to cisplatin in the clinical samples by SDI test. Cisplatin sensitivity was closely associated with the methylation status of TLX3. These findings showed that the TLX3 methylation may be useful as a novel biomarker for cisplatin resistance and can be used to design therapies to counteract the resistance against cisplatin in bladder cancer.

Meijerink JP
Genetic rearrangements in relation to immunophenotype and outcome in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2010; 23(3):307-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutually exclusive oncogenic rearrangements may delineate specific T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) subgroups, and so far at least 4 molecular-cytogenetic subgroups have been identified, i.e. the TAL/LMO, the TLX1/HOX11, the TLX3/HOX11L2 and the HOXA subgroups. A fifth group with an immature immunophenotype that can be predicted by an early T-cell precursor signature has also been identified, and has been associated with poor outcome. The association of these subgroups with the expression of specific immunophenotypic markers reflecting arrest at specific T-cell developmental stages will be reviewed. These strong associations urge the need to extensively study oncogenic rearrangements and immunophenotypic markers in relation to outcome for future treatment protocols, both for paediatric as well as adult T-ALL patients.

Zuurbier L, Homminga I, Calvert V, et al.
NOTCH1 and/or FBXW7 mutations predict for initial good prednisone response but not for improved outcome in pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients treated on DCOG or COALL protocols.
Leukemia. 2010; 24(12):2014-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant activation of the NOTCH1 pathway by inactivating and activating mutations in NOTCH1 or FBXW7 is a frequent phenomenon in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). We retrospectively investigated the relevance of NOTCH1/FBXW7 mutations for pediatric T-ALL patients enrolled on Dutch Childhood Oncology Group (DCOG) ALL7/8 or ALL9 or the German Co-Operative Study Group for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia study (COALL-97) protocols. NOTCH1-activating mutations were identified in 63% of patients. NOTCH1 mutations affected the heterodimerization, the juxtamembrane and/or the PEST domains, but not the RBP-J-κ-associated module, the ankyrin repeats or the transactivation domain. Reverse-phase protein microarray data confirmed that NOTCH1 and FBXW7 mutations resulted in increased intracellular NOTCH1 levels in primary T-ALL biopsies. Based on microarray expression analysis, NOTCH1/FBXW7 mutations were associated with activation of NOTCH1 direct target genes including HES1, DTX1, NOTCH3, PTCRA but not cMYC. NOTCH1/FBXW7 mutations were associated with TLX3 rearrangements, but were less frequently identified in TAL1- or LMO2-rearranged cases. NOTCH1-activating mutations were less frequently associated with mature T-cell developmental stage. Mutations were associated with a good initial in vivo prednisone response, but were not associated with a superior outcome in the DCOG and COALL cohorts. Comparing our data with other studies, we conclude that the prognostic significance for NOTCH1/FBXW7 mutations is not consistent and may depend on the treatment protocol given.

Van Vlierberghe P, Palomero T, Khiabanian H, et al.
PHF6 mutations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nat Genet. 2010; 42(4):338-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor suppressor genes on the X chromosome may skew the gender distribution of specific types of cancer. T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive hematological malignancy with an increased incidence in males. In this study, we report the identification of inactivating mutations and deletions in the X-linked plant homeodomain finger 6 (PHF6) gene in 16% of pediatric and 38% of adult primary T-ALL samples. Notably, PHF6 mutations are almost exclusively found in T-ALL samples from male subjects. Mutational loss of PHF6 is importantly associated with leukemias driven by aberrant expression of the homeobox transcription factor oncogenes TLX1 and TLX3. Overall, these results identify PHF6 as a new X-linked tumor suppressor in T-ALL and point to a strong genetic interaction between PHF6 loss and aberrant expression of TLX transcription factors in the pathogenesis of this disease.

Gutierrez A, Sanda T, Ma W, et al.
Inactivation of LEF1 in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Blood. 2010; 115(14):2845-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To further unravel the molecular pathogenesis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), we performed high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization on diagnostic specimens from 47 children with T-ALL and identified monoallelic or biallelic LEF1 microdeletions in 11% (5 of 47) of these primary samples. An additional 7% (3 of 44) of the cases harbored nonsynonymous sequence alterations of LEF1, 2 of which produced premature stop codons. Gene expression microarrays showed increased expression of MYC and MYC targets in cases with LEF1 inactivation, as well as differentiation arrest at an early cortical stage of thymocyte development characterized by expression of CD1B, CD1E, and CD8, with absent CD34 expression. LEF1 inactivation was associated with a younger age at the time of T-ALL diagnosis, as well as activating NOTCH1 mutations, biallelic INK4a/ARF deletions, and PTEN loss-of-function mutations or activating mutations of PI3K or AKT genes. These cases generally lacked overexpression of the TAL1, HOX11, HOX11L2, or the HOXA cluster genes, which have been used to define separate molecular pathways leading to T-ALL. Our findings suggest that LEF1 inactivation is an important step in the molecular pathogenesis of T-ALL in a subset of young children.

Hagemeijer A, Graux C
ABL1 rearrangements in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2010; 49(4):299-308 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is the result of multiple oncogenic insults of thymocytes. Recently, new ABL1 fusion genes have been identified that provide proliferation and survival advantage to lymphoblasts. These are the NUP214-ABL1 fusion gene, on amplified episomes, the unique case of EML1-ABL1 fusion due to a cryptic t(9;14)(q34;q32) and the seldom reported BCR-ABL1 and ETV6-ABL1 chimeric genes. The most frequent and strictly associated with T-ALL is the NUP214-ABL1 fusion identified in 6% of cases, in both children and adults. Patients present with classical T-ALL features. Cytogenetically, the fusion is cryptic but seen by FISH on amplified episomes or more rarely as a small hsr. The ABL1 fusion is a late event associated with other genetic alterations like NOTCH1 activating mutation, deletion of CDKN2A locus, and ectopic expression of TLX1 or TLX3. The mechanism of activation of the NUP214-ABL1 protein is unique and requires localization at the nucleopore complex and interaction with other nuclear pore proteins for crossphosphorylation and constitutive kinase activity. The ABL1 fusion proteins are sensitive to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which can be included in future treatment strategy.

Gorello P, La Starza R, Varasano E, et al.
Combined interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization elucidates the genetic heterogeneity of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adults.
Haematologica. 2010; 95(1):79-86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular lesions in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias affect regulators of cell cycle, proliferation, differentiation, survival and apoptosis in multi-step pathogenic pathways. Full genetic characterization is needed to identify events concurring in the development of these leukemias.
DESIGN AND METHODS: We designed a combined interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization strategy to study 25 oncogenes/tumor suppressor genes in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias and applied it in 23 adult patients for whom immunophenotyping, karyotyping, molecular studies, and gene expression profiling data were available. The results were confirmed and integrated with those of multiplex-polymerase chain reaction analysis and gene expression profiling in another 129 adults with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias.
RESULTS: The combined hybridization was abnormal in 21/23 patients (91%), and revealed multiple genomic changes in 13 (56%). It found abnormalities known to be associated with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias, i.e. CDKN2A-B/9p21 and GRIK2/6q16 deletions, TCR and TLX3 rearrangements, SIL-TAL1, CALM-AF10, MLL-translocations, del(17)(q12)/NF1 and other cryptic genomic imbalances, i.e. 9q34, 11p, 12p, and 17q11 duplication, del(5)(q35), del(7)(q34), del(9)(q34), del(12)(p13), and del(14)(q11). It revealed new cytogenetic mechanisms for TCRB-driven oncogene activation and C-MYB duplication. In two cases with cryptic del(9)(q34), fluorescence in situ hybridization and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction detected the TAF_INUP214 fusion and gene expression profiling identified a signature characterized by HOXA and NUP214 upregulation and TAF_I, FNBP1, C9orf78, and USP20 down-regulation. Multiplex-polymerase chain reaction analysis and gene expression profiling of 129 further cases found five additional cases of TAF_I-NUP214-positive T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
CONCLUSIONS: Our combined interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization strategy greatly improved the detection of genetic abnormalities in adult T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias. It identified new tumor suppressor genes/oncogenes involved in leukemogenesis and highlighted concurrent involvement of genes. The estimated incidence of TAF_I-NUP214, a new recurrent fusion in adult T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias, was 4.6% (7/152).

Nagel S, Venturini L, Przybylski GK, et al.
NK-like homeodomain proteins activate NOTCH3-signaling in leukemic T-cells.
BMC Cancer. 2009; 9:371 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Homeodomain proteins control fundamental cellular processes in development and in cancer if deregulated. Three members of the NK-like subfamily of homeobox genes (NKLs), TLX1, TLX3 and NKX2-5, are implicated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). They are activated by particular chromosomal aberrations. However, their precise function in leukemogenesis is still unclear. Here we screened further NKLs in 24 T-ALL cell lines and identified the common expression of MSX2. The subsequent aim of this study was to analyze the role of MSX2 in T-cell differentiation which may be disturbed by oncogenic NKLs.
METHODS: Specific gene activity was examined by quantitative real-time PCR, and globally by expression profiling. Proteins were analyzed by western blot, immuno-cytology and immuno-precipitation. For overexpression studies cell lines were transduced by lentiviruses.
RESULTS: Quantification of MSX2 mRNA in primary hematopoietic cells demonstrated higher levels in CD34+ stem cells as compared to peripheral blood cells and mature CD3+ T-cells. Furthermore, analysis of MSX2 expression levels in T-cell lines after treatment with core thymic factors confirmed their involvement in regulation. These results indicated that MSX2 represents an hematopoietic NKL family member which is downregulated during T-cell development and may functionally substituted by oncogenic NKLs. For functional analysis JURKAT cells were lentivirally transduced, overexpressing either MSX2 or oncogenic TLX1 and NKX2-5, respectively. These cells displayed transcriptional activation of NOTCH3-signaling, including NOTCH3 and HEY1 as analyzed by gene expression profiling and quantitative RT-PCR, and consistently attenuated sensitivity to gamma-secretase inhibitor as analyzed by MTT-assays. Furthermore, in addition to MSX2, both TLX1 and NKX2-5 proteins interacted with NOTCH-pathway repressors, SPEN/MINT/SHARP and TLE1/GRG1, representing a potential mechanism for (de)regulation. Finally, elevated expression of NOTCH3 and HEY1 was detected in primary TLX1/3 positive T-ALL cells corresponding to the cell line data.
CONCLUSION: Identification and analysis of MSX2 in hematopoietic cells implicates a modulatory role via NOTCH3-signaling in early T-cell differentiation. Our data suggest that reduction of NOTCH3-signaling by physiological downregulation of MSX2 expression during T-cell development is abrogated by ectopic expression of oncogenic NKLs, substituting MSX2 function.

Mansur MB, Emerenciano M, Splendore A, et al.
T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia in early childhood presents NOTCH1 mutations and MLL rearrangements.
Leuk Res. 2010; 34(4):483-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) may affect children in very early age. However, the critical events leading to this brief latency is still unclear. We used standard methods to explore NOTCH1 mutations and other specific molecular markers in 15 early childhood T-ALL cases. Most of them consisted of immature differentiation subtype. Despite being found in a lower frequency than that described for overall pediatric T-ALL, NOTCH1 alterations were the most frequent ones. Other alterations included MLL(+) (n=4), SIL-TAL1(+) (n=3), FLT3 mutation (n=1) and HOX11L2(+) (n=1). Our results suggest that NOTCH1 and MLL abnormalities are primary leukemogenic hits in early T-ALL.

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