Calreticulin Mutations in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms
With the discovery of the JAK2V617F mutation in patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative (Ph-) myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) in 2005, major advances have been made in the diagnosis of MPNs, in understanding of their pathogenesis involving the JAK/STAT pathway, and finally in the development of novel therapies targeting this pathway. Nevertheless, it remains unknown which mutations exist in approximately one-third of patients with non-mutated JAK2 or MPL essential thrombocythemia (ET) and primary myelofibrosis (PMF). At the end of 2013, two studies identified recurrent mutations in the gene encoding calreticulin (CALR) using whole-exome sequencing. These mutations were revealed in the majority of ET and PMF patients with non-mutated JAK2 or MPL but not in polycythemia vera patients. Somatic 52-bp deletions (type 1 mutations) and recurrent 5-bp insertions (type 2 mutations) in exon 9 of the CALR gene (the last exon encoding the C-terminal amino acids of the protein calreticulin) were detected and found always to generate frameshift mutations. All detected mutant calreticulin proteins shared a novel amino acid sequence at the C-terminal. Mutations in CALR are acquired early in the clonal history of the disease, and they cause activation of JAK/STAT signaling. The CALR mutations are the second most frequent mutations in Ph- MPN patients after the JAK2V617F mutation, and their detection has significantly improved the diagnostic approach for ET and PMF. The characteristics of the CALR mutations as well as their diagnostic, clinical, and pathogenesis implications are discussed in this review.
Rambam Maimonides Med J 2014;5(4):e0035