Key Points

  • RNA-binding proteins with roles in regulating alternative splicing, DAZAP1, EWSR1, HNRNPH1, are frequently mutated in MCL

  • Most somatic HNRNPH1 mutations are intronic and disrupt regulation of HNRNPH1 through alternative splicing

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an uncommon B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that is incurable with standard therapies. The genetic drivers of this cancer have not been firmly established and the features that contribute to differences in clinical course remain limited. To extend our understanding of the biological pathways involved in this malignancy, we performed a large-scale genomic analysis of MCL using data from 51 exomes and 34 genomes alongside previously published exome cohorts. To confirm our findings, we re-sequenced the genes identified in the exome cohort in 191 MCL tumors, each having clinical follow-up data. We confirmed the prognostic association of TP53 and NOTCH1 mutations. Our sequencing revealed novel recurrent non-coding mutations surrounding a single exon of the HNRNPH1 gene. In RNA-seq data from 103 of these cases, MCL tumors with these mutations had a distinct imbalance of HNRNPH1 isoforms. This altered splicing of HNRNPH1 was associated with inferior outcomes in MCL and showed a significant increase in protein expression by immunohistochemistry. We describe a functional role for these recurrent non-coding mutations in disrupting an auto-regulatory feedback mechanism, thereby deregulating HNRNPH1 protein expression. Taken together, these data strongly implicate a role for aberrant regulation of mRNA processing in MCL pathobiology.

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