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Hornung, Roman; Jurinovic, Vindi; Batcha, Aarif M. N.; Bamopoulos, Stefanos A.; Rothenberg-Thurley, Maja; Amler, Susanne; Sauerland, Maria Cristina; Berdel, Wolfgang E.; Wörmann, Bernhard J.; Bohlander, Stefan K.; Braess, Jan; Hiddemann, Wolfgang; Lehmann, Sören; Mareschal, Sylvain; Spiekermann, Karsten; Metzeler, Klaus H.; Herold, Tobias; Boulesteix, Anne-Laure (2018): Mediation analysis reveals common mechanisms of RUNX1 point mutations and RUNX1/RUNX1T1 fusions influencing survival of patients with acute myeloid leukemia. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 8, No. 1: pp. 1-13
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Abstract

Alterations of RUNX1 in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are associated with either a more favorable outcome in the case of the RUNX1/RUNX1T1 fusion or unfavorable prognosis in the case of point mutations. In this project we aimed to identify genes responsible for the observed differences in outcome that are common to both RUNX1 alterations. Analyzing four AML gene expression data sets (n = 1514), a total of 80 patients with RUNX1/RUNX1T1 and 156 patients with point mutations in RUNX1 were compared. Using the statistical tool of mediation analysis we identified the genes CD109, HOPX, and KIAA0125 as candidates for mediator genes. In an analysis of an independent validation cohort, KIAA0125 again showed a significant influence with respect to the impact of the RUNX1/RUNX1T1 fusion. While there were no significant results for the other two genes in this smaller validation cohort, the observed relations linked with mediation effects (i.e., those between alterations, gene expression and survival) were almost without exception as strong as in the main analysis. Our analysis demonstrates that mediation analysis is a powerful tool in the identification of regulative networks in AML subgroups and could be further used to characterize the influence of genetic alterations.