Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous group of clonal myeloid stem cells disorders with high prevalence in the elderly characterized by inefficient hematopoiesis, peripheral blood (PB) cytopenias, and an increased risk of transformation to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The karyotype is the clinical parameter with the strongest prognostic impact according the IPSS-R (Greenberg et al., 2012). The most frequent cytogenetic alteration is the chromosome 5q deletion (del[5q]) which as a single anomaly, confers a good prognosis and predicts an excellent response to lenalidomide. Whether other genetic abnormalities routinely cooperate with del(5q) is not known. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) is a powerful tool to identify somatic mutations in protein coding genes that might cooperate with del(5q).

In order to better understand the genetic basis of MDS with del(5q), we performed whole-exome sequencing (assessing 334,378 exons) of tumor-normal paired samples from 21 MDS patients. Herein we describe the preliminary findings. The analysis is ongoing and the complete results will be presented in the meeting.


A total of 21 patients with MDS (16 with del(5q) as a sole abnormality, 3 with del(5q) and additional alterations and 2 with normal karyotype) were included in our study. We examined a total of 25 tumor samples (21 diagnostic bone marrow (BM) samples with matched CD3+ cells as a controls, additional BM samples from 3 patients during lenalidomide treatment and 1 bone marrow sample from a del(5q) patient after AML progression). DNA was extracted from BM samples and from isolated peripheral blood CD3+ cells (magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS), MiltenyiBiotec GmbH, Germany). The purity of CD3+ cells was assessed by FC 500 flow cytometer (Beckman Coulter, Hialeah, Fl, USA). Only DNA that fulfilled quality controls required by WES were submitted. For each diagnostic sample, we performed Conventional G-banding cytogenetics and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH, to confirm or dismiss 5q deletions).

Whole-exome targeted capture was carried out on 3 μg of genomic DNA, using the SureSelect Human Exome Kit 51Mb version 4 (Agilent Technologies, Inc., Santa Clara, CA, USA). The captured and amplified exome library was sequenced with 100 bp paired-end reads on an Illumina HiSeq2000. Whole-exome sequencing data were analyzed using an in-house bioinformatics pipeline as previously reported. Somatic mutations identified as alterations present in tumor but not in the matched CD3+ sample were validated by Sanger sequencing.


In our preliminary analysis of WES from 12 patients (10 patients with 5q- and 2 patients with normal karyotype), a total of 249 non-silent somatic variant candidates were identified, of which 146 were confirmed as somatic mutations. Recurrent mutations were observed in three genes (ASXL1, NBPF10 and SF3B1) in 3 different patients. Seven genes (HRNR, JAK2, POTEG, MUC5B, PHLDA, TTN, ZNF717) were mutated in two patients. Mutations in several genes known to be mutated in MDS (ASXL1, JAK2, RUNX1, SF3B1, SRSF2 and TET2) were also identified. Patients with the 5q deletion had an average of 11 mutations whereas patients with normal karyotype had a higher mean (14.5). Mutated genes identified in both groups were HRNR, JAK2, MUC5B, NBPF10 and SF3B1. No mutations in TP53 were detected in this subset. Pathway analysis of the complete list of somatically mutated genes will be carried out once all 21 patients are analyzed. The four in-treatment samples will be examined from their matched diagnostic samples.


Whole-exome sequencing of largely del(5q) MDS patient samples identified both known and previously unreported somatic mutations. Analysis of additional samples will allow a more complete description of the genes and pathways that may cooperate with del(5q) in the development and progression of MDS.


Financial support: This work has been supported (in part) by a grant from Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo, Spain (PI 11/02010); by Red Temática de Investigación Cooperativa en Cáncer (RTICC, FEDER) (RD07/0020/2004; RD12/0036/0044); Acción COST BM0801: European Genomics and Epigenomics Study on MDS and AML; Sociedad Española de Hematología y Hemoterapia (SEHH) and MDS Celgene.


Rafael Bejar and Francesc Sole contributed equally.


Díez-Campelo:Novartis and Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding. Cañizo:Celgene Jansen-Cilag Arry Novartis: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Sanchez:Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding. Bejar:Genoptix: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Consultancy, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees. Solé:Celgene: Consultancy, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.