ETV6-NCOA2 fusion induces T/myeloid mixed-phenotype leukemia through transformation of nonthymic hematopoietic progenitor cells

Hila Fishman, Shreyas Madiwale, Ifat Geron, Vase Bari, Wouter Van Loocke, Yael Kirschenbaum, Itamar Ganmore, Eitan Kugler, Avigail Rein-Gil, Gilgi Friedlander, Ginette Schiby, Yehudit Birger, Sabine Strehl, Jean Soulier, Birgit Knoechel, Adolfo Ferrando, Sharon Noy-Lotan, Arnon Nagler, James C. Mulloy, Pieter Van VlierbergheShai Izraeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mixed-phenotype acute leukemia is a rare subtype of leukemia in which both myeloid and lymphoid markers are co-expressed on the same malignant cells. The pathogenesis is largely unknown, and the treatment is challenging. We previously reported the specific association of the recurrent t(8;12)(q13;p13) chromosomal translocation that creates the ETV6-NCOA2 fusion with T/myeloid leukemias. Here we report that ETV6-NCOA2 initiates T/myeloid leukemia in preclinical models; ectopic expression of ETV6-NCOA2 in mouse bone marrow hematopoietic progenitors induced T/myeloid lymphoma accompanied by spontaneous Notch1-activating mutations. Similarly, cotransduction of human cord blood CD34+ progenitors with ETV6-NCOA2 and a nontransforming NOTCH1 mutant induced T/myeloid leukemia in immunodeficient mice; the immunophenotype and gene expression pattern were similar to those of patient-derived ETV6-NCOA2 leukemias. Mechanistically, we show that ETV6-NCOA2 forms a transcriptional complex with ETV6 and the histone acetyltransferase p300, leading to derepression of ETV6 target genes. The expression of ETV6-NCOA2 in human and mouse nonthymic hematopoietic progenitor cells induces transcriptional dysregulation, which activates a lymphoid program while failing to repress the expression of myeloid genes such as CSF1 and MEF2C. The ETV6-NCOA2 induced arrest at an early immature T-cell developmental stage. The additional acquisition of activating NOTCH1 mutations transforms the early immature ETV6-NCOA2 cells into T/myeloid leukemias. Here, we describe the first preclinical model to depict the initiation of T/myeloid leukemia by a specific somatic genetic aberration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2022


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