LMO2 is highly expressed at the most immature stages of lymphopoiesis. In T-lymphocytes, aberrant LMO2 expression beyond those stages leads to T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, while in B cells LMO2 is also expressed in germinal center lymphocytes and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, where it predicts better clinical outcome. The implication of LMO2 in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia must still be explored.
Design and Methods
We measured LMO2 expression by real time RT-PCR in 247 acute lymphoblastic leukemia patient samples with cytogenetic data (144 of them also with survival and immunophenotypical data) and in normal hematopoietic and lymphoid cells.
B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cases expressed variable levels of LMO2 depending on immunophenotypical and cytogenetic features. Thus, the most immature subtype, pro-B cells, displayed three-fold higher LMO2 expression than pre-B cells, common-CD10+ or mature sub-types. Additionally, cases with TEL-AML1 or MLL rearrangements exhibited two-fold higher LMO2 expression compared to cases with BCR-ABL rearrangements or hyperdyploid karyotype. Clinically, high LMO2 expression correlated with better overall survival in adult patients (5-year survival rate 64.8% (42.5%-87.1%) vs. 25.8% (10.9%-40.7%), P = 0.001) and constituted a favorable independent prognostic factor in B-ALL with normal karyotype: 5-year survival rate 80.3% (66.4%-94.2%) vs. 63.0% (46.1%-79.9%) (P = 0.043).
Our data indicate that LMO2 expression depends on the molecular features and the differentiation stage of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. Furthermore, assessment of LMO2 expression in adult patients with a normal karyotype, a group which lacks molecular prognostic factors, could be of clinical relevance.