Dynamic changes in clonal cytogenetic architecture during progression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in patients and patient-derived murine xenografts.

PMID 28496009


Subclonal heterogeneity and clonal selection influences disease progression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It is therefore important that therapeutic decisions are made based on an understanding of the CLL clonal architecture and its dynamics in individual patients. Identification of cytogenetic abnormalities by FISH remains the cornerstone of contemporary clinical practice and provides a simple means for prognostic stratification. Here, we demonstrate that multiplexed-FISH can enhance recognition of CLL subclonal repertoire and its dynamics during disease progression, both in patients and CLL patient-derived xenografts (PDX). We applied a combination of patient-specific FISH probes to 24 CLL cases before treatment and at relapse, and determined putative ancestral relationships between subpopulations with different cytogenetic features. We subsequently established 7 CLL PDX models in NOD/Shi-SCID/IL-2Rγctm1sug/Jic (NOG) mice. Application of multiplexed-FISH to these models demonstrated that all of the identified cytogenetic subpopulations had leukemia propagating activity and that changes in their representation during disease progression could be spontaneous, accelerated by treatment or treatment-induced. We conclude that multiplexed-FISH in combination with PDX models have the potential to distinguish between spontaneous and treatment-induced clonal selection, and therefore provide a valuable tool for the pre-clinical evaluation of novel therapies.

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