T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) accounts for approximately 10-15% of pediatric and 25% of adult ALL cases. Despite improved prognosis driven by the significant advances in the molecular understanding of T-ALL, the outcome of T-ALL patients with primary resistant and relapsed leukemia remains poor. Recent evidences have highlighted a role for changes in 3D chromatin architecture in cancer progression. Herein, for the first time we explored genomewide changes in chromatin organization in primary T-ALL samples relative to T cells from healthy donors. We show how the organization of topologically associated domains (TADs) influences key oncogenic and tumor-suppressive loci by modifying the promoter-enhancer landscape, deregulating the transcriptional program and ultimately causing disease progression.

To comprehensively characterize the chromatin landscape of clinically relevant loci in T-ALL, we sought to identify changes in intra-TAD activity and TAD disruptions on a genome-wide scale. We developed and implemented new computational approaches for Hi-C data analysis with a focus on Hi-C data integration with ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq. We found significant correlations of TAD activity with CTCF occupancy, super-enhancer activity and gene expression of leukemia relevant loci. Furthermore, among the dozens of TAD disruptions we identified, we found a novel TAD “fusion” event around the MYC locus, which allows for chromatin interactions between a recently reported Notch-dependent MYC super-enhancer and promoter to drive overexpression of MYC. This particular TAD fusion is accompanied by a complete CTCF loss in the TAD boundary and increased MYC expression in T-ALL samples. Overall, this study sheds new light into how changes in chromatin architecture influence disease progression by restructuring oncogene and tumor suppressor landscapes.

Citation Format: Palaniraja Thandapani, Andreas Kloetgen, Charalampos Lazaris, Xufeng Chen, Panagiotis Ntziachristos, Aristotelis Tsirigos, Iannis Aifantis. Dynamic 3d chromosomal landscapes in acute leukemia [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 2998.