Hanne Helfrich

Universität Ulm, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (3)23.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The DNA damage pathway plays a central role in chemoresistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), as indicated by the prognostic impact of TP53 and ATM loss/mutations. We investigated the function of the p53 axis in primary CLL samples by studying p53 and p21 responses to irradiation by FACS and RT-PCR. We observed a distinct response pattern for most cases with a 17p deletion (n = 16) or a sole TP53 mutation (n = 8), but not all cases with a p53 aberration were detected based on a number of different assays used. Samples with a small clone with a TP53 mutation remained undetected in all assays. Only 1 of 123 cases showed high expression of p53, which is suggestive of p53 aberration without proof of mutation of TP53. Samples with an 11q deletion showed a heterogeneous response, with only 13 of 30 showing an abnormal response based on cutoff. Nevertheless, the overall induction of p53 and p21 was impaired, suggesting a gene-dosage effect for ATM in the 11q-deleted samples. The detectability of p53 defects is influenced by clonal heterogeneity and sample purity. Functional assays of p53 defects will detect a small number of cases not detectable by FISH or TP53 mutational analysis. The clinical utility of functional p53 testing will need to be derived from clinical trials.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2011 · Blood
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    ABSTRACT: The TP53 mutation profile in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and the correlation of TP53 mutations with allele status or associated molecular genetics are currently unknown. We performed a large mutation analysis of TP53 at four centers and characterized the pattern of TP53 mutations in CLL. We report on 268 mutations in 254 patients with CLL. Missense mutations appeared in 74% of cases compared with deletions and insertions (20%), nonsense (4%) and splice site (2%) mutations. The majority (243 of 268) of mutations were located in the DNA-binding domain. Transitions were found in 131 of 268 mutations, with only 41 occurring at methylated CpG sites (15%), suggesting that transitions at CpGs are uncommon. The codons most frequently mutated were at positions 175, 179, 248 and 273; in addition, we detected a common 2-nt deletion in the codon 209. Most mutations (199 of 259) were accompanied by deletion of the other allele (17p-). Interestingly, trisomy 12 (without 17p-) was only found in one of 60 cases with TP53 mutation (without 17p-) compared with 60 of 16 in the cohort without mutation (P=0.006). The mutational profile was not different in the cohorts with and without previous therapy, suggesting that the mechanism underlying the development of mutations may be similar, independent of treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of studying p53 pathway defects in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has been promoted by the demonstration of the fundamentally different clinical course of patients with 17p deletion. The observation of resistance to chemotherapy and mutation of the remaining TP53 allele explain the clinical presentation of CLL with 17p deletion. Here we review recent evidence that cases with TP53 mutation in the absence of the deletion of 17p have a similar clinical and biological course as cases carrying the deletion 17p. In addition, other principal components of the DNA damage pathway reportedly are de-regulated by mutation (ATM), deletion (ATM) or potentially more complex down-regulation (miR-34a) in CLL. Nonetheless, challenges remain because we can only explain resistance in a proportion of the cases that are resistant to first line treatment. This is of particular practical interest because our armamentarium of drugs in clinical use that acts independent of the DNA damage pathway is growing, for example antibody-based treatment (alemtuzumab), immuno-modulating drugs (lenalidomide), CDK inhibitors (flavopiridol) and steroids.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2009 · Leukemia & lymphoma