Preleukemic Hematopoietic Stem Cells in Human Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Front Oncol. 2017 Nov 6:7:263. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2017.00263. eCollection 2017.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive malignancy of the bone marrow characterized by an uncontrolled proliferation of undifferentiated myeloid lineage cells. Decades of research have demonstrated that AML evolves from the sequential acquisition of genetic alterations within a single lineage of hematopoietic cells. More recently, the advent of high-throughput sequencing has enabled the identification of a premalignant phase of AML termed preleukemia. Multiple studies have demonstrated that AML can arise from the accumulation of mutations within hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These HSCs have been termed "preleukemic HSCs" as they represent the evolutionary ancestors of the leukemia. Through examination of the biological and clinical characteristics of these preleukemic HSCs, this review aims to shed light on some of the unexplored questions in the field. We note that some of the material discussed is speculative in nature and is presented in order to motivate future work.

Keywords: acute; clonal evolution; clonal hematopoiesis; leukemia; myeloid; preleukemic hematopoietic stem cell; premalignant lesions.

Publication types

  • Review