BCR-ABL1(+) precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL) is an aggressive hematopoietic neoplasm characterized by a block in differentiation due in part to the somatic loss of transcription factors required for B-cell development. We hypothesized that overcoming this differentiation block by forcing cells to reprogram to the myeloid lineage would reduce the leukemogenicity of these cells. We found that primary human BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL cells could be induced to reprogram into macrophage-like cells by exposure to myeloid differentiation-promoting cytokines in vitro or by transient expression of the myeloid transcription factor C/EBPa or PU.1. The resultant cells were clonally related to the primary leukemic blasts but resembled normal macrophages in appearance, immunophenotype, gene expression, and function. Most importantly, these macrophage-like cells were unable to establish disease in xenograft hosts, indicating that lineage reprogramming eliminates the leukemogenicity of BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL cells, and suggesting a previously unidentified therapeutic strategy for this disease. Finally, we determined that myeloid reprogramming may occur to some degree in human patients by identifying primary CD14(+) monocytes/macrophages in BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL patient samples that possess the BCR-ABL1(+) translocation and clonally recombined VDJ regions.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1413383112
View details for Web of Science ID 000351914500070
View details for PubMedID 25775523
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4386392