F Speleman

Ghent University, Gand, Flanders, Belgium

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Publications (136)568.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Amplification of the MYCN oncogene predicts treatment resistance in childhood neuroblastoma. We used a MYC target gene signature that predicts poor neuroblastoma prognosis to identify the histone chaperone FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription) as a crucial mediator of the MYC signal and a therapeutic target in the disease. FACT and MYCN expression created a forward feedback loop in neuroblastoma cells that was essential for maintaining mutual high expression. FACT inhibition by the small-molecule curaxin compound CBL0137 markedly reduced tumor initiation and progression in vivo. CBL0137 exhibited strong synergy with standard chemotherapy by blocking repair of DNA damage caused by genotoxic drugs, thus creating a synthetic lethal environment in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells and suggesting a treatment strategy for MYCN-driven neuroblastoma.
    Science translational medicine 11/2015; 7(312):312ra176-312ra176. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.aab1803 · 15.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The TLX1 transcription factor is critically involved in the multi-step pathogenesis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and often cooperates with NOTCH1 activation during malignant T-cell transformation. However, the exact molecular mechanism by which these T-cell specific oncogenes cooperate during transformation remains to be established. Here, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing to establish the genome wide binding pattern of TLX1 in human T-ALL. This integrative genomics approach showed that ectopic TLX1 expression drives repression of T-cell specific enhancers and mediates an unexpected transcriptional antagonism with NOTCH1 at critical target genes, including IL7R and NOTCH3. These phenomena coordinately trigger a TLX1 driven pre-leukemic phenotype in human thymic precursor cells, reminiscent of the thymus regression observed in murine TLX1 tumor models, and create a strong genetic pressure for acquiring activating NOTCH1 mutations as a prerequisite for full le
    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 06/2015; DOI:10.1038/leu.2015.162 · 10.43 Impact Factor
  • A. Fieuw · J.H. Schulte · K. De Preter · F. Speleman ·
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer entity dominated by DNA copy number alterations. Distinct recurrent patterns of chromosomal aberrations (i.e. deletions 1p, 3p and 11q and 17q gain) have been linked to prognosis and have been the subject of many studies in the search for driver genes. So far, an undisputable role in neuroblastoma formation could be attributed to only a few genes. Interestingly, the use of high-resolution DNA copy number analysis platforms detecting lesions of 10 kb or less have provided a new resource in the search for disease-related genes. In addition to the common MYCN amplification, other rare amplicons have been accurately dissected using these sensitive tools, leading to identification of novel neuroblastoma-related oncogenes such as ALK and LIN28B. A recent wide-scale approach to search for focal gains and losses encompassing genes and miRNAs identified an enrichment of MYCN-upregulated targets among genes residing in focal gains. Additionally, enrichment was noticed for the target genes of MYCN-upregulated miRNAs among focally deleted genes. These results point towards a copy number-based alternative path to reinforce oncogenic MYCN signaling and illustrate the added value of focusing on small copy number alterations in the discovery of candidate driver genes.
    Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 01/2015; 20:10-22. DOI:10.1159/000382058
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    ABSTRACT: The MYB oncogene is a leucine zipper transcription factor essential for normal and malignant hematopoiesis. In T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), elevated MYB levels can arise directly through T-cell receptor mediated MYB translocations, genomic MYB duplications or enhanced TAL1 complex binding at the MYB locus, or indirectly through the TAL1/miR-223/FBXW7 regulatory axis. In this study, we used an unbiased MYB 3'UTR - microRNA library screen and identified 33 putative MYB targeting microRNAs. Subsequently, transcriptome data from two independent T-ALL cohorts and different subsets of normal T-cells were used to select microRNAs with relevance in the context of normal and malignant T-cell transformation. Hereby, miR-193b-3p was identified as a novel bona fide tumor suppressor microRNA that targets MYB during malignant T-cell transformation thereby offering an entry point for efficient MYB targeting oriented therapies for human T-ALL.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 18 September 2014. doi:10.1038/leu.2014.276.
    Leukemia 09/2014; DOI:10.1038/leu.2014.276 · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that originates from neural crest-derived cells, is the most common deadly solid tumor of infancy. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene, which occurs in approximately 20-25% of human neuroblastomas, is the most prominent genetic marker of high-stage disease. The availability of valid preclinical in vivo models is a prerequisite to develop novel targeted therapies. We here report on the generation of transgenic mice with Cre-conditional induction of MYCN in dopamine β-hydroxylase-expressing cells, termed LSL-MYCN;Dbh-iCre. These mice develop neuroblastic tumors with an incidence of >75%, regardless of strain background. Molecular profiling of tumors revealed upregulation of the MYCN-dependent miR-17-92 cluster as well as expression of neuroblastoma marker genes, including tyrosine hydroxylase and the neural cell adhesion molecule 1. Gene set enrichment analyses demonstrated significant correlation with MYC-associated expression patterns. Array comparative genome hybridization showed that chromosomal aberrations in LSL-MYCN;Dbh-iCre tumors were syntenic to those observed in human neuroblastomas. Treatment of a cell line established from a tumor derived from a LSL-MYCN;Dbh-iCre mouse with JQ1 or MLN8237 reduced cell viability and demonstrated oncogene addiction to MYCN. Here we report establishment of the first Cre-conditional human MYCN-driven mouse model for neuroblastoma that closely recapitulates the human disease with respect to tumor localization, histology, marker expression and genomic make up. This mouse model is a valuable tool for further functional studies and to assess the effect of targeted therapies.Oncogene advance online publication, 1 September 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.269.
    Oncogene 09/2014; 34(26). DOI:10.1038/onc.2014.269 · 8.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukemia is one of the leading journals in hematology and oncology. It is published monthly and covers all aspects of the research and treatment of leukemia and allied diseases. Studies of normal hemopoiesis are covered because of their comparative relevance.
    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 03/2013; 27(7). DOI:10.1038/leu.2013.63 · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Using mRNA expression-derived signatures as predictors of individual patient outcome has been a goal ever since the introduction of microarrays. Here, we addressed whether analyses of tumour mRNA at the exon level can improve on the predictive power and classification accuracy of gene-based expression profiles using neuroblastoma as a model. Methods: In a patient cohort comprising 113 primary neuroblastoma specimens expression profiling using exon-level analyses was performed to define predictive signatures using various machine-learning techniques. Alternative transcript use was calculated from relative exon expression. Validation of alternative transcripts was achieved using qPCR- and cell-based approaches. Results: Both predictors derived from the gene or the exon levels resulted in prediction accuracies >80% for both event-free and overall survival and proved as independent prognostic markers in multivariate analyses. Alternative transcript use was most prominently linked to the amplification status of the MYCN oncogene, expression of the TrkA/NTRK1 neurotrophin receptor and survival. Conclusion: As exon level-based prediction yields comparable, but not significantly better, prediction accuracy than gene expression-based predictors, gene-based assays seem to be sufficiently precise for predicting outcome of neuroblastoma patients. However, exon-level analyses provide added knowledge by identifying alternative transcript use, which should deepen the understanding of neuroblastoma biology.
    British Journal of Cancer 10/2012; 107(8):1409-17. DOI:10.1038/bjc.2012.391 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: In the INRG dataset, the hypothesis that any segmental chromosomal alteration might be of prognostic impact in neuroblastoma without MYCN amplification (MNA) was tested. Methods: The presence of any segmental chromosomal alteration (chromosome 1p deletion, 11q deletion and/or chromosome 17q gain) defined a segmental genomic profile. Only tumours with a confirmed unaltered status for all three chromosome arms were considered as having no segmental chromosomal alterations. Results: Among the 8800 patients in the INRG database, a genomic type could be attributed for 505 patients without MNA: 397 cases had a segmental genomic type, whereas 108 cases had an absence of any segmental alteration. A segmental genomic type was more frequent in patients >18 months and in stage 4 disease (P<0.0001). In univariate analysis, 11q deletion, 17q gain and a segmental genomic type were associated with a poorer event-free survival (EFS) (P<0.0001, P=0.0002 and P<0.0001, respectively). In multivariate analysis modelling EFS, the parameters age, stage and a segmental genomic type were retained in the model, whereas the individual genetic markers were not (P<0.0001 and RR=2.56; P=0.0002 and RR=1.8; P=0.01 and RR=1.7, respectively). Conclusion: A segmental genomic profile, rather than the single genetic markers, adds prognostic information to the clinical markers age and stage in neuroblastoma patients without MNA, underlining the importance of pangenomic studies.
    British Journal of Cancer 09/2012; 107(8):1418-22. DOI:10.1038/bjc.2012.375 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lysine (K)-specific demethylase 1A (LSD1/KDM1A) has been identified as a potential therapeutic target in solid cancers and more recently in acute myeloid leukemia. However, the potential side effects of a LSD1-inhibitory therapy remain elusive. Here, we show, with a newly established conditional in vivo knockdown model, that LSD1 represents a central regulator of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. LSD1 knockdown (LSD1-kd) expanded progenitor numbers by enhancing their proliferative behavior. LSD1-kd led to an extensive expansion of granulomonocytic, erythroid and megakaryocytic progenitors. In contrast, terminal granulopoiesis, erythropoiesis and platelet production were severely inhibited. The only exception was monopoiesis, which was promoted by LSD1 deficiency. Importantly, we showed that peripheral blood granulocytopenia, monocytosis, anemia and thrombocytopenia were reversible after LSD1-kd termination. Extramedullary splenic hematopoiesis contributed to the phenotypic reversion, and progenitor populations remained expanded. LSD1-kd was associated with the upregulation of key hematopoietic genes, including Gfi1b, Hoxa9 and Meis1, which are known regulators of the HSC/progenitor compartment. We also demonstrated that LSD1-kd abrogated Gfi1b-negative autoregulation by crossing LSD1-kd with Gfi1b:GFP mice. Taken together, our findings distinguish LSD1 as a critical regulator of hematopoiesis and point to severe, but reversible, side effects of a LSD1-targeted therapy.
    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 06/2012; 26(9):2039-51. DOI:10.1038/leu.2012.157 · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroblastoma is an embryonal tumor with a heterogeneous clinical course. The tumor is presumed to be derived from the neural crest, but the cells of origin remain to be determined. To date, few recurrent genetic changes contributing to neuroblastoma formation, such as amplification of the MYCN oncogene and activating mutations of the ALK oncogene, have been identified. The possibility to model neuroblastoma in mice allows investigation of the cell of origin hypothesis in further detail. Here we present the evidence that murine neural crest progenitor cells can give rise to neuroblastoma upon transformation with MYCN or ALK(F1174L). For this purpose we used JoMa1, a multipotent neural crest progenitor cell line, which is kept in a viable and undifferentiated state by a tamoxifen-activated c-Myc transgene (c-MycER(T)). Expression of MYCN or ALK(F1174L), one of the oncogenic ALK variants identified in primary neuroblastomas, enabled these cells to grow independently of c-MycER(T) activity in vitro and caused formation of neuroblastoma-like tumors in vivo in contrast to parental JoMa1 cells and JoMa1 cells-expressing TrkA or GFP. Tumorigenicity was enhanced upon serial transplantation of tumor-derived cells, and tumor cells remained susceptible to the MYC-inhibitor, NBT-272, indicating that cell growth depended on functional MYCN. Our findings support neural crest progenitor cells as the precursor cells of neuroblastoma, and indicate that neuroblastomas arise as their malignant progeny.Oncogene advance online publication, 9 April 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.106.
    Oncogene 04/2012; 32(8). DOI:10.1038/onc.2012.106 · 8.46 Impact Factor
  • IM Ambros · F Speleman · PF Ambros ·

    11/2011; DOI:10.4267/2042/44395

  • Klinische Pädiatrie 05/2011; 223(03). DOI:10.1055/s-0031-1277082 · 1.06 Impact Factor
  • B Cauwelier · N Dastugue · A Hagemeijer · F Speleman ·

    02/2011; DOI:10.4267/2042/38305
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    B Cauwelier · F Speleman ·

    02/2011; DOI:10.4267/2042/38347
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    B Poppe · Paepe P De · F Speleman ·

    02/2011; DOI:10.4267/2042/37934
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    B Poppe · N Dastugue · F Speleman ·

    02/2011; DOI:10.4267/2042/37961
  • B Poppe · RG Forsyth · K Dhaene · F Speleman ·

    02/2011; DOI:10.4267/2042/37939
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    ABSTRACT: EWS-FLI1 is a chromosome translocation-derived chimeric transcription factor that has a central and rate-limiting role in the pathogenesis of Ewing's sarcoma. Although the EWS-FLI1 transcriptomic signature has been extensively characterized on the mRNA level, information on its impact on non-coding RNA expression is lacking. We have performed a genome-wide analysis of microRNAs affected by RNAi-mediated silencing of EWS-FLI1 in Ewing's sarcoma cell lines, and differentially expressed between primary Ewing's sarcoma and mesenchymal progenitor cells. Here, we report on the identification of hsa-mir-145 as the top EWS-FLI1-repressed microRNA. Upon knockdown of EWS-FLI1, hsa-mir-145 expression dramatically increases in all Ewing's sarcoma cell lines tested. Vice versa, ectopic expression of the microRNA in Ewing's sarcoma cell lines strongly reduced EWS-FLI1 protein, whereas transfection of an anti-mir to hsa-mir-145 increased the EWS-FLI1 levels. Reporter gene assays revealed that this modulation of EWS-FLI1 protein was mediated by the microRNA targeting the FLI1 3'-untranslated region. Mutual regulations of EWS-FLI1 and hsa-mir-145 were mirrored by an inverse correlation between their expression levels in four of the Ewing's sarcoma cell lines tested. Consistent with the role of EWS-FLI1 in Ewing's sarcoma growth regulation, forced hsa-mir-145 expression halted Ewing's sarcoma cell line growth. These results identify feedback regulation between EWS-FLI1 and hsa-mir-145 as an important component of the EWS-FLI1-mediated Ewing's sarcomagenesis that may open a new avenue to future microRNA-mediated therapy of this devastating malignant disease.
    Oncogene 01/2011; 30(18):2173-80. DOI:10.1038/onc.2010.581 · 8.46 Impact Factor

  • Blood 01/2011; 118(21):599-599. · 10.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Risk-adjusted treatment stratification in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALLs) is currently based only on early response to chemotherapy. We investigated the prognostic implication of hyperactivation of NOTCH pathway resulting from mutations of NOTCH1 or FBXW7 in children with T-ALL enrolled in EORTC-CLG trials. Overall, 80 out of 134 (60%) patients were NOTCH+ (NOTCH1 and/or FBXW7 mutated). Although clinical presentations were not significantly associated with NOTCH status, NOTCH+ patients showed a better early response to chemotherapy as compared with NOTCH- patients, according to the rate of poor pre-phase 'responders' (25% versus 44%; P=0.02) and the incidence of high minimal residual disease (MRD) levels (11% (7/62) versus 32% (10/31); P=0.01) at completion of induction. However, the outcome of NOTCH+ patients was similar to that of NOTCH- patients, with a 5-year event-free survival (EFS) of 73% and 70% (P=0.82), and 5-year overall survival of 82% and 79% (P=0.62), respectively. In patients with high MRD levels, the 5-year EFS rate was 0% (NOTCH+) versus 42% (NOTCH-), whereas in those with low MRD levels, the outcome was similar: 76% (NOTCH+) versus 78% (NOTCH-). The incidence of isolated central nervous system (CNS) relapses was relatively high in NOTCH1+ patients (8.3%), which could be related to a higher propensity of NOTCH+ leukemic blasts to target the CNS.
    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 12/2010; 24(12):2023-31. DOI:10.1038/leu.2010.205 · 10.43 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
568.14 Total Impact Points


  • 1992-2014
    • Ghent University
      • Center for Medical Genetics
      Gand, Flanders, Belgium
  • 1989-2014
    • Universitair Ziekenhuis Ghent
      • Centre for Medical Genetics
      Gand, Flanders, Belgium
  • 2006
    • Universitair Ziekenhuis Leuven
      Louvain, Flanders, Belgium
    • Catholic University of Louvain
      Лувен-ла-Нев, Walloon, Belgium
  • 1995-1999
    • University of Antwerp
      • Department of medical genetics
      Antwerpen, Flanders, Belgium
    • Stanford University
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 1998
    • University-Hospital Brugmann UVC
      Bruxelles, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
  • 1994-1995
    • University of Amsterdam
      • Faculty of Medicine AMC
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands