Sami N Malek

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

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Publications (36)297.01 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Follicular lymphoma (FL) constitutes the second most common non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the Western world. FL cell-intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence FL biology and clinical outcome. To further our understanding of the genetic basis of FL, we performed whole exome sequencing (WES) of 23 highly purified FL cases and one transformed FL case and expanded findings to a combined total of 114 FL. We report recurrent mutations in the transcription factor STAT6 in 11% of FL and identify the STAT6 amino acid residue 419 as a novel STAT6 mutation hotspot (p.419D/G, p.419D/A, and p.419D/H). FL-associated STAT6 mutations were activating, as evidenced by increased transactivation in HEK293T cell-based transfection/luciferase reporter assays, heightened IL-4-induced activation of target genes in stable STAT6 transfected lymphoma cell lines, and elevated baseline expression levels of STAT6 target genes in primary FL B-cells harboring mutant STAT6. Mechanistically, FL-associated STAT6 mutations facilitated nuclear residency of STAT6, independent of IL-4-induced STAT6-Y641 phosphorylation. Structural modeling of STAT6 based on the structure of the STAT1/DNA complex uncovered that most FL-associated STAT6 mutants locate to the STAT6/DNA interface, potentially facilitating heightened interactions. Combined, the genetic and functional data strengthen the recognition of the IL-4/JAK/STAT6 axis as a driver of FL pathogenesis. Copyright © 2014 American Society of Hematology.
    Blood 11/2014; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we report a comprehensive characterization of our recently developed inhibitor MM-401 that targets the MLL1 H3K4 methyltransferase activity. MM-401 is able to specifically inhibit MLL1 activity by blocking MLL1-WDR5 interaction and thus the complex assembly. This targeting strategy does not affect other mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) family histone methyltransferases (HMTs), revealing a unique regulatory feature for the MLL1 complex. Using MM-401 and its enantiomer control MM-NC-401, we show that inhibiting MLL1 methyltransferase activity specifically blocks proliferation of MLL cells by inducing cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis, and myeloid differentiation without general toxicity to normal bone marrow cells or non-MLL cells. More importantly, transcriptome analyses show that MM-401 induces changes in gene expression similar to those of MLL1 deletion, supporting a predominant role of MLL1 activity in regulating MLL1-dependent leukemia transcription program. We envision broad applications for MM-401 in basic and translational research.
    Molecular cell 01/2014; 53:1-13. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Follicular lymphoma (FL) constitutes the second most common non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the Western world. FL carries characteristic recurrent structural genomic aberrations. However, information regarding the coding genome in FL is still evolving. Here, we describe the results of massively parallel exome sequencing and SNP 6.0 array genomic profiling of 11 highly purified FL cases and one transformed FL case and the validation of selected mutations in 102 FL cases. We report identification of 15 novel recurrently mutated genes in FL. These include frequent mutations in the linker histone genes HIST1H1 B-E (27%) and mutations in OCT2 (also known as POU2F2; 8%), IRF8 (6%), and ARID1A (11%). A subset of the mutations in HIST1H1 B-Eaffected binding to DNMT3B and mutations in HIST1H1 B-E and in EZH2 or ARID1A were largely mutually exclusive, implicating HIST1H1 B-E in epigenetic deregulation in FL. Mutations in OCT2 (POU2F2) affected its transcriptional and functional properties as measured through luciferase assays, the biological analysis of stable transduced cell lines and global expression profiling. Finally, multiple novel mutated genes located within regions of acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD) in FL are identified. In aggregate, these data substantially broaden our understanding of the genomic pathogenesis of FL.
    Blood 01/2014; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an indolent disease, but 30%-40% of cases undergo histologic transformation to an aggressive malignancy, typically represented by diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The pathogenesis of this process remains largely unknown. Using whole-exome sequencing and copy-number analysis, we show here that the dominant clone of FL and transformed FL (tFL) arise by divergent evolution from a common mutated precursor through the acquisition of distinct genetic events. Mutations in epigenetic modifiers and antiapoptotic genes are introduced early in the common precursor, whereas tFL is specifically associated with alterations deregulating cell-cycle progression and DNA damage responses (CDKN2A/B, MYC, and TP53) as well as aberrant somatic hypermutation. The genomic profile of tFL shares similarities with that of germinal center B cell-type de novo DLBCL but also displays unique combinations of altered genes with diagnostic and therapeutic implications.
    Cell Reports 01/2014; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is defined by a perturbed B-cell receptor-mediated signaling machinery. We aimed to model differential signaling behavior between B cells from CLL and healthy individuals to pinpoint modes of dysregulation. We developed an experimental methodology combining immunophenotyping, multiplexed phosphospecific flow cytometry, and multifactorial statistical modeling. Utilizing patterns of signaling network covariance, we modeled BCR signaling in 67 CLL patients using Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR). Results from multidimensional modeling were validated using an independent test cohort of 38 patients. We identified a dynamic and variable imbalance between proximal (pSYK, pBTK) and distal (pPLCγ2, pBLNK, ppERK) phosphoresponses. PLSR identified the relationship between upstream tyrosine kinase SYK and its target, PLCγ2, as maximally predictive and sufficient to distinguish CLL from healthy samples, pointing to this juncture in the signaling pathway as a hallmark of CLL B cells. Specific BCR pathway signaling signatures that correlate with the disease and its degree of aggressiveness were identified. Heterogeneity in the PLSR response variable within the B cell population is both a characteristic mark of healthy samples and predictive of disease aggressiveness. Single-cell multidimensional analysis of BCR signaling permitted focused analysis of the variability and heterogeneity of signaling behavior from patient-to-patient, and from cell-to-cell. Disruption of the pSYK/pPLCγ2 relationship is uncovered as a robust hallmark of CLL B cell signaling behavior. Together, these observations implicate novel elements of the BCR signal transduction as potential therapeutic targets.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e79987. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: The identification of gene mutations and structural genomic aberrations that are critically involved in CLL pathogenesis is still evolving. One may postulate that genomic driver lesions with effects on CLL cell proliferation, apoptosis thresholds or chemotherapy resistance should increase in frequency over time when measured sequentially in a CLL cohort. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We sequentially sampled a large well-characterized CLL cohort at a mean of 4 years between samplings and measured acquired copy number aberrations (aCNA) and LOH using SNP 6.0 array profiling and the mutational state of TP53, NOTCH1 and SF3B1 using Sanger sequencing. The paired analysis included 156 patients, of whom 114 remained untreated and 42 received intercurrent therapies, predominantly potent chemo-immunotherapy, during the sampling interval. RESULTS: We identify a strong effect of intercurrent therapies on the frequency of acquisition of aCNAs in CLL. Importantly, the spectrum of acquired genomic changes was largely similar in patients that did or did not receive intercurrent therapies; therefore, various genomic changes that become part of the dominant clones are often already present in CLL cell populations prior to therapy. Further, we provide evidence that therapy of CLL with pre-existing TP53 mutations results in outgrowth of genomically very complex clones which dominate at relapse. CONCLUSIONS: Using complementary technologies directed at the detection of genomic events that are present in substantial proportions of the clinically relevant CLL disease bulk, we capture aspects of genomic evolution in CLL over time, including increases in the frequency of genomic complexity, specific recurrent aCNAs and TP53 mutations.
    Clinical Cancer Research 04/2013; · 7.84 Impact Factor
  • Sami Malek
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in the Western World and remains incurable with conventional chemotherapy treatment approaches. CLL has a highly varied clinical course. The substantial clinical variability in the clinical course of CLL has motivated intense efforts at identifying molecular markers that can be used for CLL prognostication. While many such markers have been proposed, few have stood the test of time; this is due to various reasons outlined in detail in this chapter.Of the reasons that have affected the usefulness and broad applicability of CLL biomarkers a few stand out as recurrent: lack of independent effects of individual markers on prognosis; the use of arbitrary cutoffs when using continuous variables; technical challenges in validity, reproducibility, and reliability (classical test characteristics); and lack of marker validation in prospectively identified CLL patient cohorts.Nonetheless, a few useful prognostic markers (CLL interphase FISH, immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region mutation status) have been identified, and others are still in transition to widespread clinical applications (TP53 mutations, SNP array-based elevated genomic complexity).As CLL therapy transitions from genotoxic combination therapies to targeted therapies, it will be of importance to reestablish the usefulness of our current understanding of individual CLL traits in CLL prognosis. Finally, the identification of predictive markers remains important given the established associations of poor response rates with shortened survival and the ongoing need for more personalized approaches in CLL management.
    Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2013; 792:193-214. · 1.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The application of SNP array technology to the analysis of cancer genomes has greatly advanced our knowledge of the incidence and functional consequences of acquired genomic copy number aberrations (aCNA) and LOH in various malignancies. The major challenges of using SNP arrays are accurately identifying acquired genomic DNA aberrations in the raw array data with very high sensitivity and specificity and meaningfully assessing the associations between these aberrations and biological characteristics or patient outcomes. Critical to the success and valid interpretation of data derived from SNP array profiling are (1) the purity of cells used as a source of template DNA; (2) the analysis of paired DNA samples (tumor and normal); (3) use of validated software tools for data analysis; (4) access to an acceptable gold standard for aCNA and LOH, including FISH data, cytogenetic results, and Q-PCR data; and (5) statistical support to employ or develop algorithmic approaches to SNP array data analysis. Overcalling of lesions including lack of validation and undercalling of lesions that display low fractional allelic representations are common problems. This guide should help the reader establish this powerful technology in the laboratory and aims to stimulate transition of SNP array profiling into clinical applications.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 973:99-119. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Peter Ouillette, Sami Malek
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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 80 % of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) carries somatically acquired genomic copy number aberrations (aCNAs). These include gains of entire chromosomes (trisomy 12) and recurrent genomic losses, including interstitial deletions of various lengths at 13q14, 11q, and of more uniform length at 17p. In addition, approximately 10-15 second-tier aCNAs, with frequencies of 1-5 %, have been identified. In this chapter, we will discuss the biology and clinical significance of these CLL-associated aCNAs in detail and also discuss generic aspects of aCNAs relevant to all cancer cells. The hypothesis is advanced that most if not all aCNAs in CLL deregulate multiple target genes as a consequence of aCNA-associated gene mutations and through stable deregulation of gene expression. The concept of elevated genomic complexity (multiple aCNAs per CLL case) is reinforced as one of the strongest biological traits associated with aggressive CLL with short survival. Further, all inherited polymorphic copy number variations as detected through SNP 6.0 array profiling of T-cell-derived DNA of 255 CLL patients are listed to allow the reader a more critical appraisal of the somatic status of CLL-associated aCNAs as reported in the literature. Finally, given that aCNAs and gene mutations coexist in many CLL cells, we stress the importance of understanding in detail the relative biological and clinical roles each mutation type serves in individual CLL patients; this is a research area in need of more in-depth investigation.
    Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2013; 792:47-86. · 1.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The frequent occurrence of persistent or relapsed disease following induction chemotherapy in AML necessitates a better understanding of the clonal relationship of AML in various disease phases. In this study, we employed SNP 6.0 array-based genomic profiling of acquired copy number aberrations (aCNA) and copy neutral LOH (cnLOH) together with sequence analysis of recurrently mutated genes to characterize paired AML genomes. We analyzed 28 AML sample pairs from patients that achieved complete remission with chemotherapy and subsequently relapsed and 11 sample pairs from patients with persistent disease following induction chemotherapy. Through review of aCNA/cnLOH and gene mutation profiles in informative cases we demonstrate that relapsed AML invariably represents reemergence or evolution of a founder clone. Furthermore, all individual aCNA or cnLOH detected at presentation persisted at relapse indicating that this lesion type is proximally involved in AML evolution. Analysis of informative paired persistent AML disease samples uncovered cases with two coexisting dominant clones of which at least one was chemotherapy sensitive and one resistant, respectively. These data support the conclusion that incomplete eradication of AML founder clones rather than stochastic emergence of fully unrelated novel clones underlies AML relapse and persistence with direct implications for clinical AML research.
    Blood 11/2012; · 9.78 Impact Factor
  • S N Malek
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in the Western world and remains incurable with conventional chemotherapy treatment approaches. CLL as a disease entity is defined by a relatively parsimonious set of diagnostic criteria and therefore likely constitutes an umbrella term for multiple related illnesses. Of the enduring fundamental biological processes that affect the biology and clinical behavior of CLL, few are as central to the pathogenesis of CLL as recurrent acquired genomic copy number aberrations (aCNA) and recurrent gene mutations. Here, a state-of-the-art overview of the pathological anatomy of the CLL genome is presented, including detailed descriptions of the anatomy of aCNA and gene mutations. Data from SNP array profiling and large-scale sequencing of large CLL cohorts, as well as stimulated karyotyping, are discussed. This review is organized by discussions of the anatomy, underlying pathomechanisms and clinical significance of individual genomic lesions and recurrent gene mutations. Finally, gaps in knowledge regarding the biological and clinical effects of recurrent genomic aberrations or gene mutations on CLL are outlined to provide critical stimuli for future research.
    Oncogene 09/2012; 32(23):2805-2817. · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A subset of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) carries mutations in ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM). Such ATM mutations may be particularly relevant in the setting of del11q, which invariably results in the deletion of one ATM allele. To improve our understanding of the frequency and type of ATM mutations that exist in CLL, we resequenced all ATM coding exons in 24 CLL with del11q using direct sequencing. We detected two missense mutations, resulting in an ATM mutation frequency of 8%; nonsense and frameshift mutations were not identified. Given the low ATM mutation frequency detected in this cohort, we proceeded with measurements of nonmutational ATM aberrations in CLL through analysis of the activation state of ATM in response to external irradiation. The phosphorylation state of ATM at Ser-1981 was measured using quantitative immunoblotting in purified CLL cells isolated from 251 CLL patients; data were normalized to simultaneous measurements of total ATM protein and actin. Resulting p-ATM/ATM and p-ATM/actin ratios were subsequently analyzed for prognostic significance inclusive and exclusive of TP53 exons 2-10 mutations. From these analyses, conducted in a large prospectively enrolled CLL patient cohort, neither the p-ATM/ATM nor the p-ATM/actin ratios were found to be prognostic for short survival. These data in aggregate demonstrate a low frequency of ATM aberrations in an unselected CLL cohort and do not support a major prognostic role for ATM aberrations in CLL, thus motivating renewed research efforts aimed at understanding the pathobiology of 11q deletions in CLL. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 09/2012; 51(12):1125-32. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tipifarnib (T) exhibits modest activity in elderly adults with newly diagnosed acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Based on preclinical synergy, a phase 1 trial of T plus etoposide (E) yielded 25% complete remission (CR). We selected 2 comparable dose levels for a randomized phase 2 trial in 84 adults (age range, 70-90 years; median, 76 years) who were not candidates for conventional chemotherapy. Arm A (T 600 mg twice a day × 14 days, E 100 mg days 1-3 and 8-10) and arm B (T 400 mg twice a day × 14 days, E 200 mg days 1-3 and 8-10) yielded similar CR, but arm B had greater toxicity. Total CR was 25%, day 30 death rate 7%. A 2-gene signature of high RASGRP1 and low aprataxin (APTX) expression previously predicted for T response. Assays using blasts from a subset of 40 patients treated with T plus E on this study showed that AMLs with a RASGRP1/APTX ratio of more than 5.2 had a 78% CR rate and negative predictive value 87%. This ratio did not correlate with outcome in 41 patients treated with conventional chemotherapies. The next T-based clinical trials will test the ability of the 2-gene signature to enrich for T responders prospectively. This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00602771.
    Blood 01/2012; 119(1):55-63. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the chromatin remodeling gene ARID1A have recently been identified in the majority of ovarian clear cell carcinomas (OCCCs). To determine the prevalence of mutations in other tumor types, we evaluated 759 malignant neoplasms including those of the pancreas, breast, colon, stomach, lung, prostate, brain, and blood (leukemias). We identified truncating mutations in 6% of the neoplasms studied; nontruncating somatic mutations were identified in an additional 0.4% of neoplasms. Mutations were most commonly found in gastrointestinal samples with 12 of 119 (10%) colorectal and 10 of 100 (10%) gastric neoplasms, respectively, harboring changes. More than half of the mutated colorectal and gastric cancers displayed microsatellite instability (MSI) and the mutations in these tumors were out-of-frame insertions or deletions at mononucleotide repeats. Mutations were also identified in 2-8% of tumors of the pancreas, breast, brain (medulloblastomas), prostate, and lung, and none of these tumors displayed MSI. These findings suggest that the aberrant chromatin remodeling consequent to ARID1A inactivation contributes to a variety of different types of neoplasms.
    Human Mutation 01/2012; 33(1):100-3. · 5.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic aberrations contribute to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, half of AML cases do not contain the well-known aberrations detectable mostly by cytogenetic analysis, and these cases are classified as normal karyotype AML. Different outcomes of normal karyotype AML suggest that this subgroup of AML could be genetically heterogeneous. But lack of genetic markers makes it difficult to further study this subgroup of AML. Using paired-end RNAseq method, we performed a transcriptome analysis in 45 AML cases including 29 normal karyotype AML, 8 abnormal karyotype AML and 8 AML without karyotype informaiton. Our study identified 134 fusion transcripts, all of which were formed between the partner genes adjacent in the same chromosome and distributed at different frequencies in the AML cases. Seven fusions are exclusively present in normal karyotype AML, and the rest fusions are shared between the normal karyotype AML and abnormal karyotype AML. CIITA, a master regulator of MHC class II gene expression and truncated in B-cell lymphoma and Hodgkin disease, is found to fuse with DEXI in 48% of normal karyotype AML cases. The fusion transcripts formed between adjacent genes highlight the possibility that certain such fusions could be involved in oncological process in AML, and provide a new source to identify genetic markers for normal karyotype AML.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e51203. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    K Shedden, Y Li, P Ouillette, S N Malek
    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 12/2011; 26(5):1108-10. · 10.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To further our understanding of the genetic basis of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), we determined the coding exon sequences of ∼ 18 000 protein-encoding genes in 8 patients with secondary AML. Here we report the discovery of novel somatic mutations in the transcriptional corepressor gene BCORL1 that is located on the X-chromosome. Analysis of BCORL1 in an unselected cohort of 173 AML patients identified a total of 10 mutated cases (6%) with BCORL1 mutations, whereas analysis of 19 AML cell lines uncovered 4 (21%) BCORL1 mutated cell lines. The majority (87%) of the mutations in BCORL1 were predicted to inactivate the gene product as a result of nonsense mutations, splice site mutation, or out-of-frame insertions or deletions. These results indicate that BCORL1 by genetic criteria is a novel candidate tumor suppressor gene, joining the growing list of genes recurrently mutated in AML.
    Blood 11/2011; 118(22):5914-7. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To further our understanding of the biology and prognostic significance of various chromosomal 13q14 deletions in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We analyzed data from SNP 6.0 arrays to define the anatomy of various 13q14 deletions in a cohort of 255 CLL patients and have correlated two subsets of 13q14 deletions (type I exclusive of RB1 and type II inclusive of RB1) with patient survival. Furthermore, we measured the expression of the 13q14-resident microRNAs by quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) in 242 CLL patients and subsequently assessed their prognostic significance. We sequenced all coding exons of RB1 in patients with monoallelic RB1 deletion and have sequenced the 13q14-resident miR locus in all patients. Large 13q14 (type II) deletions were detected in approximately 20% of all CLL patients and were associated with shortened survival. A strong association between 13q14 type II deletions and elevated genomic complexity, as measured through CLL-FISH or SNP 6.0 array profiling, was identified, suggesting that these lesions may contribute to CLL disease evolution through genomic destabilization. Sequence and copy number analysis of the RB1 gene identified a small CLL subset that is RB1 null. Finally, neither the expression levels of the 13q14-resident microRNAs nor the degree of 13q14 deletion, as measured through SNP 6.0 array-based copy number analysis, had significant prognostic importance. Our data suggest that the clinical course of CLL is accelerated in patients with large (type II) 13q14 deletions that span the RB1 gene, therefore justifying routine identification of 13q14 subtypes in CLL management.
    Clinical Cancer Research 09/2011; 17(21):6778-90. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genomic aberrations are of predominant importance to the biology and clinical outcome of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and FISH-based genomic risk classifications are routinely used in clinical decision making in CLL. One of the known limitations of CLL FISH is the inability to comprehensively interrogate the CLL genome for genomic changes. In an effort at overcoming the existing limitations in CLL genome analysis, we have analyzed high-purity DNA isolated from FACS-sorted CD19(+) cells and paired CD3(+) or buccal cells from 255 patients with CLL for acquired genomic copy number aberrations (aCNAs) with the use of ultra-high-density Affymetrix SNP 6.0 arrays. Overall, ≥ 2 subchromosomal aCNAs were found in 39% (100 of 255) of all cases analyzed, whereas ≥ 3 subchromosomal aCNAs were detected in 20% (50 of 255) of cases. Subsequently, we have correlated genomic lesion loads (genomic complexity) with the clinical outcome measures time to first therapy and overall survival. With the use of multivariate analyses incorporating the most important prognostic factors in CLL together with SNP 6.0 array-based genomic lesion loads at various thresholds, we identify elevated CLL genomic complexity as an independent and powerful marker for the identification of patients with aggressive CLL and short survival.
    Blood 08/2011; 118(11):3051-61. · 9.78 Impact Factor
  • Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 06/2011; 25(12):1908-10. · 10.16 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

676 Citations
297.01 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2014
    • University of Michigan
      • • Department of Internal Medicine
      • • Division of Hematology and Oncology
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • 2011
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
    • Concordia University–Ann Arbor
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, MA, United States