We examined the microRNAs (miRNAs) expressed in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and identified miR-150 as the most abundant, but with leukemia cell expression levels that varied among patients. CLL cells that expressed ζ-chain-associated protein of 70 kDa (ZAP-70) or that used unmutated immunoglobulin heavy chain variable (IGHV) genes, each had a median expression level of miR-150 that was significantly lower than that of ZAP-70-negative CLL cells or those that used mutated IGHV genes. In samples stratified for expression of miR-150, CLL cells with low-level miR-150 expressed relatively higher levels of forkhead box P1 (FOXP1) and GRB2-associated binding protein 1 (GAB1), genes with 3' untranslated regions having evolutionary-conserved binding sites for miR-150. High-level expression of miR-150 could repress expression of these genes, which encode proteins that enhance B-cell receptor signaling, a putative CLL-growth/survival signal. Also, high-level expression of miR-150 was a significant independent predictor of longer treatment-free survival or overall survival, whereas an inverse association was observed for high-level expression of GAB1 or FOXP1 for overall survival. This study demonstrates that expression of miR-150 can influence the relative expression of GAB1 and FOXP1 and the signaling potential of the B-cell receptor, thereby possibly accounting for the noted association of expression of miR-150 and disease outcome.
© 2014 by The American Society of Hematology.