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    Epigenetic modifications have been found to play crucial roles in myelodysplastic neoplasm (MDS) progression. Previously, we investigated genome-wide DNA methylation alterations during MDS evolution to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by next-generation sequencing (NGS). Herein, we further determined the role and clinical implications of an evident methylation change in CpG islands at the SLIT2 promoter identified by NGS. First, increased SLIT2 promoter methylation was validated in 11 paired MDS/AML patients during disease evolution. Additionally, SLIT2 promoter methylation was markedly increased in MDS/AML patients compared with controls and was correlated with poor clinical phenotype and outcome. Interestingly, SLIT2 expression was particularly upregulated in AML patients and was not correlated with SLIT2 promoter methylation. However, the SLIT2-embedded genes SLIT2-IT1 and miR-218 were downregulated in AML patients, which was negatively associated with SLIT2 promoter methylation and further validated by demethylation studies. Functionally, SLIT2-IT1/miR-218 overexpression exhibited antileukemic effects by affecting cell proliferation, apoptosis and colony formation in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, SLIT2-IT1 may function as a competing endogenous RNA by sponging miR-3156-3p to regulate BMF expression, whereas miR-218 may directly target HOXA1 in MDS progression. In summary, our findings demonstrate that SLIT2 promoter hypermethylation is associated with disease evolution in MDS and predicts poor prognoses in both MDS and AML. Epigenetic inactivation of SLIT2-IT1/miR-218 by SLIT2 promoter hypermethylation could be a promising therapeutic target in MDS. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


    Ting-Juan Zhang, Zi-Jun Xu, Xiang-Mei Wen, Yu Gu, Ji-Chun Ma, Qian Yuan, Jiang Lin, Jing-Dong Zhou, Jun Qian. SLIT2 promoter hypermethylation-mediated SLIT2-IT1/miR-218 repression drives leukemogenesis and predicts adverse prognosis in myelodysplastic neoplasm. Leukemia. 2022 Oct;36(10):2488-2498

    PMID: 35906386

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