Familial clustering of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can be caused by inherited factors. We screened 59 individuals from 17 families with 2 or more biological relatives with MDS/AML for variants in 12 genes with established roles in predisposition to MDS/AML, and identified a pathogenic germ line variant in 5 families (29%). Extending the screen with a panel of 264 genes that are recurrently mutated in de novo AML, we identified rare, nonsynonymous germ line variants in 4 genes, each segregating with MDS/AML in 2 families. Somatic mutations are required for progression to MDS/AML in these familial cases. Using a combination of targeted and exome sequencing of tumor and matched normal samples from 26 familial MDS/AML cases and asymptomatic carriers, we identified recurrent frameshift mutations in the cohesin-associated factor PDS5B, co-occurrence of somatic ASXL1 mutations with germ line GATA2 mutations, and recurrent mutations in other known MDS/AML drivers. Mutations in genes that are recurrently mutated in de novo AML were underrepresented in the familial MDS/AML cases, although the total number of somatic mutations per exome was the same. Lastly, clonal skewing of hematopoiesis was detected in 67% of young, asymptomatic RUNX1 carriers, providing a potential biomarker that could be used for surveillance in these high-risk families.
© 2015 by The American Society of Hematology.