Retroviral vector–mediated HSC gene therapy has been used to treat individuals with a number of life-threatening diseases. However, some patients with SCID-X1 developed retroviral vector–mediated leukemia after treatment. The selective growth advantage of gene-modified cells in patients with SCID-X1 suggests that the transgene may have played a role in leukemogenesis. Here we report that 2 of 2 dogs and 1 of 2 macaques developed myeloid leukemia approximately 2 years after being transplanted with cells that overexpressed homeobox B4 (HOXB4) and cells transduced with a control gammaretroviral vector that did not express HOXB4. The leukemic cells had dysregulated expression of oncogenes, a block in myeloid differentiation, and overexpression of HOXB4. HOXB4 knockdown restored differentiation in leukemic cells, suggesting involvement of HOXB4. In contrast, leukemia did not arise from the cells carrying the control gammaretroviral vector. In addition, leukemia did not arise in 5 animals with high-level marking and polyclonal long-term repopulation following transplantation with cells transduced with an identical gammaretrovirus vector backbone expressing methylguanine methyltransferase. These findings, combined with the absence of leukemia in many other large animals transplanted with cells transduced with gammaretroviral vectors expressing genes other than HOXB4, show that HOXB4 overexpression poses a significant risk of leukemogenesis. Our data thus suggest the continued need for caution in genetic manipulation of repopulating cells, particularly when the transgene might impart an intrinsic growth advantage.
Xiao-Bing Zhang, Brian C. Beard, Grant D. Trobridge, Brent L. Wood, George E. Sale, Reeteka Sud, R. Keith Humphries, Hans-Peter Kiem
Usage data is cumulative from January 2019 through January 2020.
Usage information is collected from two different sources: this site (JCI) and Pubmed Central (PMC). JCI information (compiled daily) shows human readership based on methods we employ to screen out robotic usage. PMC information (aggregated monthly) is also similarly screened of robotic usage.
Various methods are used to distinguish robotic usage. For example, Google automatically scans articles to add to its search index and identifies itself as robotic; other services might not clearly identify themselves as robotic, or they are new or unknown as robotic. Because this activity can be misinterpreted as human readership, data may be re-processed periodically to reflect an improved understanding of robotic activity. Because of these factors, readers should consider usage information illustrative but subject to change.