1 Finsenlaboratoriet, Finsencentret, Rigshospitalet, The Capital Region of Denmark
Reciprocal chromosomal translocations are observed in one-third of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cases. Targeting and understanding the effects of the resulting aberrant oncogenic fusion proteins may help developing drugs against specific leukemic subtypes, as demonstrated earlier by the use of ATRA in acute promyelocytic leukemia. Hematopoietic stem/progenitor (HSPCs) cells transduced with oncogenic fusion genes are regarded as promising in vitromodels of their corresponding AML subtypes. Here, we critically assessed the potential of such in vitro models using an integrative bioinformatics approach. Surprisingly, we found that the gene-expression profiles of CD34+ human HSPCs transformed with the potent oncogenic fusion proteins AML-ETO or MLL-AF9, only weakly resembled those derived from primary AML samples. Hence, our work raises concerns as to the relevance of the use of in vitro transduced cells to study the impact of transcriptional deregulation in human AML.