Two novel high-risk subtypes were identified in AYA and adults with B-ALL using integrated RNA-seq and target-capture DNA-seq analyses.
Frequencies of novel subtypes were distinct between adults and children, partly accounting for inferior outcome of adults with B-ALL.
The genetic basis of leukemogenesis in adults with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is largely unclear, and its clinical outcome remains unsatisfactory. This study aimed to advance the understanding of biological characteristics, improve disease stratification, and identify molecular targets of adult B-ALL. Adolescents and young adults (AYA) (15 to 39 years old, n = 193) and adults (40 to 64 years old, n = 161) with Philadelphia chromosome-negative (Ph−) B-ALL were included in this study. Integrated transcriptomic and genetic analyses were used to classify the cohort into defined subtypes. Of the 323 cases included in the RNA sequencing analysis, 278 (86.1%) were classified into 18 subtypes. The ZNF384 subtype (22.6%) was the most prevalent, with 2 novel subtypes (CDX2-high and IDH1/2-mut) identified among cases not assigned to the established subtypes. The CDX2-high subtype (3.4%) was characterized by high expression of CDX2 and recurrent gain of chromosome 1q. The IDH1/2-mut subtype (1.9%) was defined by IDH1 R132C or IDH2 R140Q mutations with specific transcriptional and high-methylation profiles. Both subtypes showed poor prognosis and were considered inferior prognostic factors independent of clinical parameters. Comparison with a previously reported pediatric B-ALL cohort (n = 1003) showed that the frequencies of these subtypes were significantly higher in AYA/adults than in children. We delineated the genetic and transcriptomic landscape of adult B-ALL and identified 2 novel subtypes that predict poor disease outcomes. Our findings highlight the age-dependent distribution of subtypes, which partially accounts for the prognostic differences between adult and pediatric B-ALL.