A primary hierarchically organized patient-derived model enables in depth interrogation of stemness driven by the coding and non-coding genome

Leukemia. 2022 Nov;36(11):2690-2704. doi: 10.1038/s41375-022-01697-9. Epub 2022 Sep 21.


Many cancers are organized as cellular hierarchies sustained by cancer stem cells (CSC), whose eradication is crucial for achieving long-term remission. Difficulties to isolate and undertake in vitro and in vivo experimental studies of rare CSC under conditions that preserve their original properties currently constitute a bottleneck for identifying molecular mechanisms involving coding and non-coding genomic regions that govern stemness. We focussed on acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as a paradigm of the CSC model and developed a patient-derived system termed OCI-AML22 that recapitulates the cellular hierarchy driven by leukemia stem cells (LSC). Through classical flow sorting and functional analyses, we established that a single phenotypic population is highly enriched for LSC. The LSC fraction can be easily isolated and serially expanded in culture or in xenografts while faithfully recapitulating functional, transcriptional and epigenetic features of primary LSCs. A novel non-coding regulatory element was identified with a new computational approach using functionally validated primary AML LSC fractions and its role in LSC stemness validated through efficient CRISPR editing using methods optimized for OCI-AML22 LSC. Collectively, OCI-AML22 constitutes a valuable resource to uncover mechanisms governing CSC driven malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells* / pathology