The mutational landscape in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia deciphered by whole genome sequencing

Hum Mutat. 2015 Jan;36(1):118-28. doi: 10.1002/humu.22719.


Genomic characterization of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has identified distinct patterns of genes and pathways altered in patients with well-defined genetic aberrations. To extend the spectrum of known somatic variants in ALL, we performed whole genome and transcriptome sequencing of three B-cell precursor patients, of which one carried the t(12;21)ETV6-RUNX1 translocation and two lacked a known primary genetic aberration, and one T-ALL patient. We found that each patient had a unique genome, with a combination of well-known and previously undetected genomic aberrations. By targeted sequencing in 168 patients, we identified KMT2D and KIF1B as novel putative driver genes. We also identified a putative regulatory non-coding variant that coincided with overexpression of the growth factor MDK. Our results contribute to an increased understanding of the biological mechanisms that lead to ALL and suggest that regulatory variants may be more important for cancer development than recognized to date. The heterogeneity of the genetic aberrations in ALL renders whole genome sequencing particularly well suited for analysis of somatic variants in both research and diagnostic applications.

Keywords: RNA sequencing; acute lymphoblastic leukemia; clonal heterogeneity; whole genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome, Human
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kinesin / genetics*
  • Male
  • Midkine
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • KIF1B protein, human
  • KMT2D protein, human
  • MDK protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Midkine
  • Kinesin