Breakthrough studies over the past decade have uncovered unique gene fusions implicated in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The critical gene, cytokine receptor-like factor 2 (CRLF2), is rearranged in 5–16% of B-ALL, comprising 50% of Philadelphia-like ALL and cooperates with genomic lesions in the Jak, Mapk and Ras signalling pathways. Children with Down Syndrome (DS) have a predisposition to developing CRLF2 rearranged-ALL which is observed in 60% of DS-ALL patients. These patients experience a poor survival outcome. Mutations of genes involved in epigenetic regulation are more prevalent in DS-ALL patients than non-DS ALL patients, highlighting the potential for alternative treatment strategies. DS-ALL patients also suffer greater treatment-related toxicity from current ALL treatment regimens compared to non-DS-ALL patients. An increased gene dosage of critical genes on chromosome 21 which have roles in purine synthesis and folate transport may contribute. As the genomic landscape of DS-ALL patients is different to non-DS-ALL patients, targeted therapies for individual lesions may improve outcomes. Therapeutically targeting each rearrangement with targeted or combination therapy that will perturb the transforming signalling pathways will likely improve the poor survival rates of this subset of patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research