Idiopathic hypereosinophilia is clonal disorder? Clonality identified by targeted sequencing

PLoS One. 2017 Oct 31;12(10):e0185602. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185602. eCollection 2017.


Idiopathic hypereosinophilia (IHE)/idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (IHES) has been defined by a persistent elevation of the blood eosinophil count exceeding 1.5×103/μL, without evidence of reactive or clonal causes. While T-cell clonality assessment has been recommended for unexplained hypereosinophilia, this approach is not often applied to routine practice in the clinic. We hypothesized that the clonality would exist in a subset of IHE/IHES patients. We aimed to investigate the candidate mutations and T-cell clonality in IHE/IHES and to explore the role of mutations in eosinophil proliferation. We performed targeted capture sequencing for 88 genes using next-generation sequencing, T-cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangement assays, and pathway network analysis in relation to eosinophil proliferation. By targeted sequencing, 140 variants in 59 genes were identified. Sixteen out of 30 patients (53.3%) harbored at least one candidate mutation. The most frequently affected genes were NOTCH1 (26.7%), SCRIB and STAG2 (16.7%), and SH2B3 (13.3%). Network analysis revealed that our 21 candidate genes (BIRC3, BRD4, CSF3R, DNMT3A, EGR2, EZH2, FAT4, FLT3, GATA2, IKZF, JAK2, MAPK1, MPL, NF1, NOTCH1, PTEN, RB1, RUNX1, TET2, TP53 and WT1) are functionally linked to the eosinophilopoietic pathway. Among the 21 candidate genes, five genes (MAPK1, RUNX1, GATA2, NOTCH1 and TP53) with the highest number of linkages were considered major genes. A TCR assay revealed that four patients (13.3%) had a clonal TCR rearrangement. NOTCH1 was the most frequently mutated gene and was shown to be a common node for eosinophilopoiesis in our network analysis, while the possibility of hidden T cell malignancy was indwelling in the presence of NOTCH1 mutation, though not revealed by aberrant T cell study. Collectively, these results provide new evidence that mutations affecting eosinophilopoiesis underlie a subset of IHE/IHES, and the candidate genes are inferred to act their potential roles in the eosinophilopoietic pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clone Cells*
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypereosinophilic Syndrome / genetics*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A2A1A10052286). DSL received this funding. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.