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Genova, Italy

Maura F.,University of Milan | Mosca L.,University of Milan | Fabris S.,University of Milan | Cutrona G.,SS Molecular Diagnostics | And 17 more authors.

IGF1R is emerging as an important gene in the pathogenesis of many solid and haematological cancers and its over-expression has been reported as frequently associated with aggressive disease and chemotherapy resistance. In this study we performed an investigation of the role of IGF1R expression in a large and representative prospective series of 217 chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients enrolled in the multicentre O-CLL1 protocol (clinicaltrial.gov #NCT00917540). High IGF1R gene expression was significantly associated with IGHV unmutated (IGHV-UM) status (p<0.0001), high CD38 expression (p<0.0001), trisomy 12 (p<0.0001), and del(11)(q23) (p=0.014). Interestingly, higher IGF1R expression (p=0.002) characterized patients with NOTCH1 mutation (c.7541-7542delCT), identified in 15.5% of cases of our series by next generation sequencing and ARMS-PCR. Furthermore, IGF1R expression has been proven as an independent prognostic factor associated with time to first treatment in our CLL prospective cohort. These data suggest that IGF1R may play an important role in CLL biology, in particular in aggressive CLL clones characterized by IGHV-UM, trisomy 12 and NOTCH1 mutation. © 2015 Maura et al. Source

Lionetti M.,University of Milan | Fabris S.,University of Milan | Cutrona G.,SS Molecular Diagnostics | Agnelli L.,University of Milan | And 18 more authors.
British Journal of Haematology

NOTCH1 mutations have recently emerged as new genetic lesions significantly correlated with survival in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). We performed deep next generation sequencing of the NOTCH1 mutation hotspot in 384 cases at diagnosis, including 100 monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL) and 284 Binet stage A CLL cases, enrolled in the Gruppo Italiano Studio Linfomi O-CLL1 multicentre trial. The NOTCH1 c.7541_7542delCT dinucleotide deletion was detected and confirmed by an extremely sensitive polymerase chain reaction-based approach in 11% of MBL and 13·4% of CLL patients. Remarkably, the NOTCH1 mutation was often observed at low clonal level, mainly in MBL patients. Sequential analyses in a fraction of cases showed that the NOTCH1 mutation generally does not occur during the disease course and that the mutational load in positive cases tends to be stable over time. NOTCH1-mutated cases, even at low clonal level, displayed a significant reduction in median progression-free survival, although NOTCH1 mutation lost its prognostic impact in a multivariate analysis including 11q and/or 17p deletion, IGHV mutational status, and MBL or CLL status. Our data highlight the importance of using highly sensitive methods to measure NOTCH1 mutations, in order to improve prognostic stratification and obtain useful information for potential therapeutic approaches. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Ronchetti D.,University of Milan | Mosca L.,University of Milan | Cutrona G.,SS Molecular Diagnostics | Tuana G.,University of Milan | And 15 more authors.
BMC Medical Genomics

Background: Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) and small Cajal body-specific RNAs are non-coding RNAs involved in the maturation of other RNA molecules. Alterations of sno/scaRNA expression may play a role in cancerogenesis. This study elucidates the patterns of sno/scaRNA expression in 211 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients (Binet stage A) also in comparison with those of different normal B-cell subsets. Methods. The patterns of sno/scaRNA expression in highly purified CD19+ B-cells of 211 CLL patients and in 18 normal B-cell samples - 6 from peripheral blood, and 12 from tonsils (4 germinal center, 2 marginal zone, 3 switched memory and 3 naïve B-cells) - were analyzed on the Affymetrix GeneChip® Human Gene 1.0 ST array. Results: CLLs display a sno/scaRNAs expression profile similar to normal memory, naïve and marginal-zone B-cells, with the exception of a few down-regulated transcripts (SNORA31, -6, -62, and -71C). Our analyses also suggest some heterogeneity in the pattern of sno/scaRNAs expression which is apparently unrelated to the major biological (ZAP-70 and CD38), molecular (IGHV mutation) and cytogenetic markers. Moreover, we found that SNORA70F was significantly down-regulated in poor prognostic subgroups and this phenomenon was associated with the down-regulation of its host gene COBLL1. Finally, we generated an independent model based on SNORA74A and SNORD116-18 expression, which appears to distinguish two different prognostic CLL groups. Conclusions: These data extend the view of sno/scaRNAs deregulation in cancer and may contribute to discover novel biomarkers associated with the disease and potentially useful to predict the clinical outcome of early stage CLL patients. © 2013 Ronchetti et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Morabito F.,A.O. of Cosenza | Mosca L.,University of Milan | Cutrona G.,SS Molecular Diagnostics | Agnelli L.,University of Milan | And 26 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research

Purpose: To investigate the incidence and clinical relevance of classic and new prognostic markers, IGHV gene mutational status, and chromosomal abnormalities in clinical monoclonal B lymphocytosis (cMBL) compared with Rai stage 0 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (Rai0-CLL). Experimental Design: A group of 136 patients with cMBL and a group of 216 Rai0-CLL cases were investigated prospectively. Results: IGHV-mutated cases were significantly more frequent among cMBLs (P = 0.005), whereas the distribution of CD38 and ZAP-70 positive cases, of patients with NOTCH1 and SF3B1 mutations or exhibiting the major CLL cytogenetic abnormalities, was similar in the two groups. Moreover, no significant differences were found either in IGHV/IGHD/IGHJ gene usage or in the overall prevalence of stereotyped IGHV gene sequences. Cells from cMBL and Rai0-CLL exhibited similar gene and microRNA (miRNA) signatures; in addition, when grouped according to the IGHV mutational status, IGHVunmutated cases showed different transcriptional signatures compared with IGHV-mutated patients, irrespective of the cMBL or Rai0-CLL classification. cMBL diagnosis per se was predictive of longer progression-free survival. Conclusions: Our study based on a prospective series of patients indicates that no major differences exist between the circulating cells from cMBL and Rai0-CLL, at least based on a comparison of the markers used in the study. This possibly suggests that the two conditions mainly differ in the initial size of the monoclonal cell population, which may influence the subsequent timing of clonal expansion and clinical manifestations. © 2013 American Association for Cancer Research. Source

Maura F.,University of Milan | Cutrona G.,SS Molecular Diagnostics | Mosca L.,University of Milan | Matis S.,Scientific Direction IRCCS S. Martino IST | And 20 more authors.
Leukemia and Lymphoma

In this study we investigated specific biological and clinical features associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients carrying stereotyped BCR subset #4 (IGHV4-34) among a prospective cohort of 462 CLL/MBL patients in early stage (Binet A). All subset #4 patients (n = 16) were characterized by the IGHV mutated gene configuration, and absence of unfavorable cytogenetic lesions, NOTCH1 or SF3B1 mutations. Gene and miRNA expression profiling evidenced that the leukemic cells of subset #4 cases showed significant downregulation of WDFY4, MF2A and upregulation of PDGFA, FGFR1 and TFEC gene transcripts, as well as the upregulation of miR-497 and miR-29c. The transfection of miR-497 mimic in primary leukemic CLL cells induced a downregulation of BCL2, a known validated target of this miRNA. Our data identify biological characteristics associated with subset #4 patients, providing further evidence for the putative role of BCR in shaping the features of the tumor cells in CLL. © 2015 Informa UK, Ltd. Source

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