Comprehensive diagnostics of acute myeloid leukemia by whole transcriptome RNA sequencing | January 2021 | Leukemia. 2021 Jan;35(1):47-61. doi: 10.1038/s41375-020-0762-8. Epub 2020 Mar 3. PMID: 32127641.

Arindrarto W, Borràs DM, de Groen RAL, van den Berg RR, Locher IJ, van Diessen SAME, van der Holst R, van der Meijden ED, Honders MW, de Leeuw RH, Verlaat W, Jedema I, Kroes WGM, Knijnenburg J, van Wezel T, Vermaat JSP, Valk PJM, Janssen B, de Knijff P, van Bergen CAM, van den Akker EB, Hoen PAC’, Kiełbasa SM, Laros JFJ, Griffioen M, Veelken H.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is caused by genetic aberrations that also govern the prognosis of patients and guide risk-adapted and targeted therapy. Genetic aberrations in AML are structurally diverse and currently detected by different diagnostic assays. This study sought to establish whole transcriptome RNA sequencing as single, comprehensive, and flexible platform for AML diagnostics. We developed HAMLET (Human AML Expedited Transcriptomics) as bioinformatics pipeline for simultaneous detection of fusion genes, small variants, tandem duplications, and gene expression with all information assembled in an annotated, user-friendly output file. Whole transcriptome RNA sequencing was performed on 100 AML cases and HAMLET results were validated by reference assays and targeted resequencing. The data showed that HAMLET accurately detected all fusion genes and overexpression of EVI1 irrespective of 3q26 aberrations. In addition, small variants in 13 genes that are often mutated in AML were called with 99.2% sensitivity and 100% specificity, and tandem duplications in FLT3 and KMT2A were detected by a novel algorithm based on soft-clipped reads with 100% sensitivity and 97.1% specificity. In conclusion, HAMLET has the potential to provide accurate comprehensive diagnostic information relevant for AML classification, risk assessment and targeted therapy on a single technology platform.

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