Fusions of the Runt-related transcription factor 1 (RUNX1) with different partner genes have been associated with various hematological disorders. Interestingly, the C-terminally truncated form of RUNX1 and RUNX1 fusion proteins are similarly considered important contributors to leukemogenesis. Here, we describe a 59-year-old male patient who was initially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, inv(16)(p13;q22)/CBFB-MYH11 (FAB classification M4Eo). He achieved complete remission and negative CBFB-MYH11 status with daunorubicin/cytarabine combination chemotherapy but relapsed 3 years later. Cytogenetic analysis of relapsed leukemia cells revealed CBFB-MYH11 negativity and complex chromosomal abnormalities without inv(16)(p13;q22). RNA-seq identified the glutamate receptor, ionotropic, kinase 2 (GRIK2) gene on 6q16 as a novel fusion partner for RUNX1 in this case. Specifically, the fusion of RUNX1 to the GRIK2 antisense strand (RUNX1-GRIK2as) generated multiple missplicing transcripts. Because extremely low levels of wild-type GRIK2 were detected in leukemia cells, RUNX1-GRIK2as was thought to drive the pathogenesis associated with the RUNX1-GRIK2 fusion. The truncated RUNX1 generated from RUNX1-GRIK2as induced the expression of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) receptor on 32D myeloid leukemia cells and enhanced proliferation in response to G-CSF. In summary, the RUNX1-GRIK2as fusion emphasizes the importance of aberrantly truncated RUNX1 in leukemogenesis.
© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.