Novel GTF2I- PDGFRB and IKZF1- TYW1 fusions in pediatric leukemia with normal karyotype

Exp Hematol Oncol. 2019 May 29:8:12. doi: 10.1186/s40164-019-0136-y. eCollection 2019.


Background: Many cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) carry visible acquired chromosomal changes of pathogenetic, diagnostic, and prognostic importance. Nevertheless, from one-fourth to half of newly diagnosed ALL patients have no visible chromosomal changes detectable by G-banding analysis at diagnosis. The introduction of powerful molecular methodologies has shown that many karyotypically normal ALLs carry clinically important submicroscopic aberrations.

Case presentation: We used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), RNA sequencing, reverse transcription (RT) and genomic polymerase chain reaction (PCR), as well as Sanger sequencing to investigate a case of pediatric ALL with a normal karyotype. FISH with a commercial PDGFRB breakapart probe showed loss of the distal part of the probe suggesting a breakpoint within the PDGFRB locus. aCGH revealed submicroscopic deletions in chromosome bands 5q32q35.3 (about 30 Mb long, starting within PDGFRB and finishing in the CANX locus), 7q34 (within TCRB), 9p13 (PAX5), 10q26.13 (DMBT1), 14q11.2 (TRAC), and 14q32.33 (within the IGH locus). RNA sequencing detected an in-frame GTF2I-PDGFRB and an out-of-frame IKZF1-TYW1 fusion transcript. Both fusion transcripts were verified by RT-PCR together with Sanger sequencing and interphase FISH. The GTF2I-PDGFRB fusion was also verified by genomic PCR and FISH. The corresponding GTF2I-PDGFRB fusion protein would consist of almost the entire GTF2I and that part of PDGFRB which harbors the catalytic domain of the tyrosine kinase. It would therefore seem to lead to abnormal tyrosine kinase activity in a manner similar to what has been seen for other PDGFRB fusion proteins.

Conclusions: The examined pediatric leukemia is a Ph-like ALL which carries novel GTF2I-PDGFRB and IKZF1-TYW1 fusion genes together with additional submicroscopic deletions. Because hematologic neoplasms with PDGFRB-fusion genes can be treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, the detection of such novel fusions may be clinically important. Since the GTF2I-PDGFRB could be detected only after molecular studies of the leukemic cells, further investigations of ALL-cases, perhaps especially but not exclusively with a normal karyotype, are needed in order to determine the frequency of GTF2I-PDGFRB in leukemia, and also to find out which clinical impact the fusion may have.

Keywords: Array comparative genomic hybridization; Fluorescence in situ hybridization; Fusion genes; GTF2I–PDGFRB; IKZF1–TYW1; Normal karyotype; Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia; RNA sequencing; Submicroscopic deletions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports