Introduction: The SAM domain and HD domain 1 (SAMHD1) protein is a deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) triphosphohydrolase, which depletes the intracellular dNTP substrates and thus protects the host (human) cells from replication of viruses such as HIV. Mutations of SAMHD1 gene have been linked to Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS). In lymphoid malignancies, SAMHD1 gene mutations have been detected in a subset of chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) resulting in decreased SAMHD1 mRNA levels and also mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) among B-cell neoplasms as well as in a subset (20%) of T-prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL). Therefore, SAMHD1 may play a role in oncogenesis as a tumor suppressor. In addition, SAMHD1 may confer resistance to cytarabine by hydrolysing their active triphosphate metabolites and its high protein levels correlate with poorer clinical outcome in acute myeloid leukemia. The mutation status of SAMHD1 gene and its expression patterns in peripheral T-cell lymphoma types is not known yet. The purpose of this study was to investigate SAMHD1 gene alterations using next generation sequencing and SAMHD1 protein expression in common types of PTCL.

Methods: The study group included 81 adult patients with peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL) including 26 patients with ALK+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), 20 ALK- ALCL, 13 angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphomas (AILT) and 22 PTCL, not otherwise specified (NOS) with pre-treatment, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor tissues available for immunohistochemical analysis. Double immunostaining (SAMHD1/CD68) was used to distinguish CD68+ histiocytes from the neoplastic T-cells. The Ventana autostainer and a previously validated monoclonal antibody for SAMHD1 (#A303-691A; Bethyl Laboratories, San Antonio, TX, USA) was utilized. The percentage of SAMHD1-positive cells was calculated by counting at least 500 tumor cells in each case. In a subset of 28 PTCLs, next generation sequencing (NGS) was performed using FFPE tissues and an enriched custom TruSight gene panel of 52 genes relevant to lymphoma biology. In addition, 3 control tissue samples were included in the analysis. The analysis pipeline was based on GATK best practices guidelines and all variants were annotated using Ensembl VEP v94.5. Freedom from progression (FFP) and overall survival (OS), were the clinical endpoints. Survival analyses were performed using the Kaplan-Meier method (log-rank test).

Results: The expression level of SAMHD1 (percentage of positive neoplastic T-cells) varied significantly with AILT showing the highest level (median percentage 80%) as compared to ALK+ ALCL that showed the lowest level (median percentage 40%) of SAMHD1 expression (p=0.019, Kruskall-Wallis test). SAMHD1 mutations were detected for the first time in a subset of PTCL including 4/11 (36%) ALK+ ALCL, 1/5 (20%) ALK- ALCL, 3/6 (50%) AILT and 2/5 (40%) PTCL, NOS. The SAMHD1 gene alterations included missense mutations, nonsense (stopcodon) and splice region mutations. Importantly, reduced level (low percentage of positive tumor cells) of SAMHD1 protein expression was significantly associated with the presence of SAMHD1 mutations. More specifically, the median percentage of SAMHD1+ neoplastic T-cells was 80% in the PTCL group with wild-type SAMHD1 gene compared to 30% in the PTCL group with mutated SAMHD1 gene (p=0.01, Mann-Whitney U test), thus suggesting that alterations of SAMHD1 gene may represent a mechanism of SAMHD1 protein downregulation in a subset of PTCL. SAMHD1 expression or gene alterations did not correlate with FFP or OS in any PTCL histologic type, although the number of patients included in each group was not adequate to draw definite conclusions for prognostic significance.

Conclusions: SAMHD1 gene mutations are frequently detected in a subset of PTCL and are associated with reduced expression of SAMHD1 protein. These findings reveal a novel mechanism (SAMHD1 mutations) of SAMHD1 downregulation in PTCL, and further support the tumor suppressor function of SAMHD1 gene in lymphomas.


Rosenquist Brandell:AbbVie: Honoraria; AstraZeneca: Honoraria; Illumina: Honoraria; Janssen: Honoraria; Roche: Honoraria.

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