Super-Enhancer Analysis Defines Novel Epigenomic Subtypes of Non-APL AML Including an RARa Dependency Targetable by SY-1425, a Potent and Selective RARa Agonist. Cancer discovery McKeown, M. R., Corces, M. R., Eaton, M. L., Fiore, C. n., Lee, E. n., Lopez, J. T., Chen, M. W., Smith, D. n., Chan, S. M., Koenig, J. L., Austgen, K. n., Guenther, M. G., Orlando, D. A., Lovén, J. n., Fritz, C. C., Majeti, R. n. 2017


We characterized the enhancer landscape of 66 AML patients, identifying 6 novel subgroups and their associated regulatory loci. These subgroups are defined by their super-enhancer (SE) maps, orthogonal to somatic mutations, and are associated with distinct leukemic cell states. Examination of transcriptional drivers for these epigenomic subtypes uncovers a subset of patients with a particularly strong super-enhancer at the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA) gene locus. Presence of a RARA SE and concomitant high levels of RARA mRNA predisposes cell lines and ex vivo models to exquisite sensitivity to a selective agonist of RARa, SY-1425 (tamibarotene). Furthermore, only AML patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models with high RARA mRNA were found to respond to SY-1425. Mechanistically, we show that the response to SY-1425 in RARA-high AML cells is similar to that of APL treated with retinoids, characterized by the induction of known retinoic acid response genes, increased differentiation, and loss of proliferation.

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