Aberrant DNA methylation at specific genetic loci is a key molecular feature of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) with poor prognosis. Using quantitative high-resolution mass spectrometry, we identified RASA4 isoform 2, which maps to chromosome 7 and encodes a member of the GAP1 family of GTPase-activating proteins for small G proteins, as a recurrent target of isoform-specific DNA hypermethylation in JMML (51% of 125 patients analyzed). RASA4 isoform 2 promoter methylation correlated with clinical parameters predicting poor prognosis (older age, elevated fetal hemoglobin), with higher risk of relapse after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and with PTPN11 mutation. The level of isoform 2 methylation increased in relapsed cases after transplantation. Interestingly, most JMML cases with monosomy 7 exhibited hypermethylation on the remaining RASA4 allele. The results corroborate the significance of epigenetic modifications in the phenotype of aggressive JMML.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published