Acquired aplastic anemia (aAA) results from the T cell-mediated autoimmune destruction of hematopoietic stem cells. Factors predicting response to immune suppression therapy (IST) or development of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) are beginning to be elucidated. Our recent data suggest most patients with aAA treated with IST develop clonal somatic genetic alterations in hematopoietic cells. One frequent acquired abnormality is copy-number neutral loss of heterozygosity on chromosome 6p (6p CN-LOH) involving the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) locus. We hypothesized that because 6p CN-LOH clones may arise from selective pressure to escape immune surveillance through deletion of HLA alleles, the development of 6p CN-LOH may affect response to IST. We used single nucleotide polymorphism array genotyping and targeted next-generation sequencing of HLA alleles to assess frequency of 6p CN-LOH, identity of HLA alleles lost through 6p CN-LOH, and impact of 6p CN-LOH on response to IST. 6p CN-LOH clones were present in 11.3% of patients, remained stable over time, and were not associated with development of MDS-defining cytogenetic abnormalities. Notably, no patient with 6p CN-LOH treated with IST achieved a complete response. In summary, clonal 6p CN-LOH in aAA defines a unique subgroup of patients that may provide insights into hematopoietic clonal evolution.
Keywords: Aplastic anemia; clonal evolution; single nucleotide polymorphism array.
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