Candidate sequence variants and fetal hemoglobin in children with sickle cell disease treated with hydroxyurea.

Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 02/2013; 8(2):e55709. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055709
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fetal hemoglobin level is a heritable complex trait that strongly correlates swith the clinical severity of sickle cell disease. Only few genetic loci have been identified as robustly associated with fetal hemoglobin in patients with sickle cell disease, primarily adults. The sole approved pharmacologic therapy for this disease is hydroxyurea, with effects largely attributable to induction of fetal hemoglobin.
In a multi-site observational analysis of children with sickle cell disease, candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with baseline fetal hemoglobin levels in adult sickle cell disease were examined in children at baseline and induced by hydroxyurea therapy. For baseline levels, single marker analysis demonstrated significant association with BCL11A and the beta and epsilon globin loci (HBB and HBE, respectively), with an additive attributable variance from these loci of 23%. Among a subset of children on hydroxyurea, baseline fetal hemoglobin levels explained 33% of the variance in induced levels. The variant in HBE accounted for an additional 13% of the variance in induced levels, while variants in the HBB and BCL11A loci did not contribute beyond baseline levels.
These findings clarify the overlap between baseline and hydroxyurea-induced fetal hemoglobin levels in pediatric disease. Studies assessing influences of specific sequence variants in these and other genetic loci in larger populations and in unusual hydroxyurea responders are needed to further understand the maintenance and therapeutic induction of fetal hemoglobin in pediatric sickle cell disease.

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    ABSTRACT: Hydroxyurea has proven efficacy in children and adults with sickle cell anemia (SCA), but with considerable inter-individual variability in the amount of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) produced. Sibling and twin studies indicate that some of that drug response variation is heritable. To test the hypothesis that genetic modifiers influence pharmacological induction of HbF, we investigated phenotype-genotype associations using whole exome sequencing of children with SCA treated prospectively with hydroxyurea to maximum tolerated dose (MTD). We analyzed 171 unrelated patients enrolled in two prospective clinical trials, all treated with dose escalation to MTD. We examined two MTD drug response phenotypes: HbF (final %HbF minus baseline %HbF), and final %HbF. Analyzing individual genetic variants, we identified multiple low frequency and common variants associated with HbF induction by hydroxyurea. A validation cohort of 130 pediatric sickle cell patients treated to MTD with hydroxyurea was genotyped for 13 non-synonymous variants with the strongest association with HbF response to hydroxyurea in the discovery cohort. A coding variant in Spalt-like transcription factor, or SALL2, was associated with higher final HbF in this second independent replication sample and SALL2 represents an outstanding novel candidate gene for further investigation. These findings may help focus future functional studies and provide new insights into the pharmacological HbF upregulation by hydroxyurea in patients with SCA.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e110740. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Induction of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) has therapeutic importance for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and the beta-thalassemias. It was recently reported that increased expression of LIN28 proteins or decreased expression of its target let-7 miRNAs enhances HbF levels in cultured primary human erythroblasts from adult healthy donors. Here LIN28A effects were studied further using erythrocytes cultured from peripheral blood progenitor cells of pediatric subjects with SCD. Transgenic expression of LIN28A was accomplished by lentiviral transduction in CD34(+) sickle cells cultivated ex vivo in serum-free medium. LIN28A over-expression (LIN28A-OE) increased HbF, reduced beta (sickle)-globin, and strongly suppressed all members of the let-7 family of miRNAs. LIN28A-OE did not affect erythroblast differentiation or prevent enucleation, but it significantly reduced or ameliorated the sickling morphologies of the enucleated erythrocytes.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e106924. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Despite compelling evidence that hydroxyurea is safe and effective in sickle cell disease, it is prescribed sparingly due to several barriers like knowledge gaps in certain genotypes, apprehension about its safety and toxicity, and limited resources. We undertook this study to find out the efficacy and safety of HU in patients with HbSβ+-thalassemia with IVS1–5(G C) mutation. Procedure We registered 318 patients with HbSβ+-thalassemia with IVS1–5(G C) mutation. Of these, 203 were enrolled for hydroxyurea treatment at a low and fixed dose of 10 mg/kg/day. One hundred four patients (Group-I: 37 children and Group-II: 67 adults) with ≥2 years of hydroxyurea treatment were studied. Results The rate of vaso-occlusive crises, requirement of blood transfusion and rate of hospitalization reduced from 3 to 0.5, 1 to 0 and 1 to 0 in Group-I and 3 to 0, 1 to 0 and 0.5 to 0 in Group-II respectively after HU therapy (P < 0.0001). %HbF level, hemoglobin, MCV and MCH increased significantly, whereas HbS, WBC, platelet count, serum-bilirubin and LDH levels decreased significantly after HU therapy. It has been observed that along with fairly subtle hematological changes following HU therapy, there was a substantial clinical improvement occurred in these patients. Transient myelotoxicity was observed in 4.8%. There was minimal gonadal toxicity without affecting reproductive function. Conclusion In view of easy affordability, better acceptability, minimal toxicity, the need of infrequent monitoring and its potential effectiveness, low and fixed dose of hydroxyurea is suitable for treatment of patients with HbSβ+-thalassemia in resource poor setting.
    Pediatric Blood & Cancer 12/2014; · 2.56 Impact Factor

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