Somatic mutations activating Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein concomitant with RAS pathway mutations in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia patients

Hum Mutat. 2018 Apr;39(4):579-587. doi: 10.1002/humu.23399. Epub 2018 Jan 19.


The WAS gene product is expressed exclusively in the cytoplasm of hematopoietic cells and constitutional genetic abrogation of WASP leads to Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS). Moreover, mutational activation of WASP has been associated with X-linked neutropenia. Although studies reported that patients with constitutional WAS mutations affecting functional WASP expression may present juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML)-like features, confounding differential diagnosis above all in the copresence of mutated RAS, an activating somatic mutation of WASP has not been previously described in JMML patients. In our ongoing studies on JMML genomics, we at first detected a somatic WAS mutation in a major clone found at two consecutive relapses in one of two twins with JMML. Both twins were treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation after diagnosis of JMML. The somatic WAS mutation detected here displayed an activating WASP phenotype. Screening of 46 sporadic JMML patients at disease onset for mutations in the same PBD domain of WAS revealed two additional singleton patients carrying minor mutated clones. This is the first study to associate somatically acquired WASP mutations with a hematopoietic malignancy and increases insight in the complexity of the genomic landscape of JMML that shows low recurrent mutations concomitant with general hyperactivation of RAS pathway signaling.

Keywords: JMML; RAS pathway; WASP; sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Gain of Function Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Juvenile / genetics*
  • Male
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein / genetics*
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • WAS protein, human
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein
  • ras Proteins