Long non-coding RNA expression profile in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia identifies a distinct signature and a new biomarker in NPM1-mutated patients

Haematologica. 2017 Oct;102(10):1718-1726. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2017.171645. Epub 2017 Jul 4.


Long non-coding RNAs are defined as transcripts larger than 200 nucleotides but without protein-coding potential. There is growing evidence of the important role of long non-coding RNAs in cancer initiation, development and progression. In this study, we sought to evaluate the long non-coding RNA expression profile of patients with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (AML). RNA-sequencing of 40 cytogenetically normal AML patients allowed us to quantify 11,036 long non-coding RNAs. Among these, more than 8000 were previously undescribed long non-coding RNAs. Using unsupervised analysis, we observed a specific long non-coding RNA expression profile dependent on the mutational status of the NPM1 gene. Statistical analysis allowed us to identify a minimal set of 12 long non-coding RNAs capable of discriminating NPM1-mutated from NPM1-wild-type patients. These results were validated by qRT-PCR on an independent cohort composed of 134 cytogenetically normal AML patients. Furthermore, we have identified one putative biomarker, the long non-coding RNA XLOC_109948 whose expression pattern predicts clinical outcome. Interestingly, low XLOC_109948 expression indicates a good prognosis especially for NPM1-mutated patients. Transient transfection of GapmeR against XLOC_109948 in NPM1-mutated OCI-AML3 cell line treated with Ara-C or ATRA enhances apoptosis suggesting XLOC_109948 plays a role in drug sensitivity. This study improves our knowledge of the long non-coding RNA transcriptome in cytogenetically normal AML patients. We observed a distinct long non-coding RNA expression profile in patients with the NPM1 mutation. The newly identified XLOC_109948 long non-coding RNA emerged as a strong prognostic factor able to better stratify NPM1-mutated patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic
  • Humans
  • Karyotype
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / mortality
  • Mutation*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcriptome*


  • Biomarkers
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • nucleophosmin