ZAP-70 methylation 223 nucleotides downstream of transcription start (CpG+223) predicts outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but its impact relative to CD38 and ZAP-70 expression or immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (IGHV) status is uncertain. Additionally, standardizing ZAP-70 expression analysis has been unsuccessful. CpG+223 methylation was quantitatively determined in 295 untreated CLL cases using MassARRAY. Impact on clinical outcome vs CD38 and ZAP-70 expression and IGHV status was evaluated. Cases with low methylation (〈20%) had significantly shortened time to first treatment (TT) and overall survival (OS) (P 〈 .0001). For TT, low methylation defined a large subset of ZAP-70 protein-negative cases with significantly shortened TT (median, 8.0 vs 3.9 years for high vs low methylation; hazard ratio [HR] = 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25-0.74). Conversely, 16 ZAP-70 protein-positive cases with high methylation had poor outcome (median, 1.1 vs 2.3 years for high vs low methylation; HR = 1.62; 95% CI, 0.87-3.03). For OS, ZAP-70 methylation was the strongest risk factor; CD38 and ZAP-70 expression or IGHV status did not significantly improve OS prediction. A pyrosequencing assay was established that reproduced the MassARRAY data (kappa coefficient 〉 0.90). Thus, ZAP-70 CpG+223 methylation represents a superior biomarker for TT and OS that can be feasibly measured, supporting its use in risk-stratifying CLL.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published