Acute lymphoblastic leukemia expressing the gamma delta T cell receptor (yo T-ALL) is a poorly understood disease. We studied 200 children with yo T-ALL from 13 clinical study groups to understand the clinical and genetic features of this disease. We found age and genetic drivers were significantly associated with outcome. yo T-ALL diagnosed in children under three years of age was extremely high-risk and enriched for genetic alterations that result in both LMO2 activation and STAG2 inactivation. Mechanistically, using patient samples and isogenic cell lines, we show that inactivation of STAG2 profoundly perturbs chromatin organization by altering enhancer-promoter looping, resulting in deregulation of gene expression associated with T-cell differentiation. High throughput drug screening identified a vulnerability in DNA repair pathways arising from STAG2 inactivation, which can be targeted by Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibition. These data provide a diagnostic framework for classification and risk stratification of pediatric yo T-ALL.

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