Acute myeloid leukemia is a heterogeneous group of diseases. Mutations of the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) genes represent a novel class of point mutations in acute myeloid leukemia. These mutations prevent oxidative decarboxylation of isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate and confer novel enzymatic activity, facilitating the reduction of α-ketoglutarate to d-2-hydroxyglutarate, a putative oncometabolite. IDH1/IDH2 mutations are heterozygous, and their combined frequency is approximately 17% in unselected acute myeloid leukemia cases, 27% in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia cases, and up to 67% in acute myeloid leukemia cases with cuplike nuclei. These mutations are largely mutually exclusive. Despite many similarities of IDH1 and IDH2 mutations, it is possible that they represent distinct molecular or clinical subgroups of acute myeloid leukemia. All known mutations involve arginine (R), in codon 132 of IDH1 or codon 140 or 172 of IDH2. IDH1(R132) and IDH2(R140) mutations are frequently accompanied by normal cytogenetics and NPM1 mutation, whereas IDH2(R172) is frequently the only mutation detected in acute myeloid leukemia. There is increasing evidence that the prognostic impact of IDH1/2 mutations varies according to the specific mutation and also depends on the context of concurrent mutations of other genes. IDH1(R132) mutation may predict poor outcome in a subset of patients with molecular low-risk acute myeloid leukemia, whereas IDH2(R172) mutations confer a poor prognosis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Expression of IDH1/2 mutants induces an increase in global DNA hypermethylation and inhibits TET2-induced cytosine 5-hydroxymethylation, DNA demethylation. These data suggest that IDH1/2 mutations constitute a distinct mutational class in acute myeloid leukemia, which affects the epigenetic state, an important consideration for the development of therapeutic agents.
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