Validation of ZAP-70 methylation and its relative significance in predicting outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Claus R, Lucas DM, Ruppert AS, Williams KE, Weng D, Patterson K, Zucknick M, Oakes CC, Rassenti LZ, Greaves AW, Geyer S, Wierda WG, Brown JR, Gribben JG, Barrientos JC, Rai KR, Kay NE, Kipps TJ, Shields P, Zhao W, Grever MR, Plass C, Byrd JC
Blood 124 42-8 07/03/2014


ZAP-70 methylation 223 nucleotides downstream of transcription start (CpG+223) predicts outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but its impact relative to CD38 and ZAP-70 expression or immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (IGHV) status is uncertain. Additionally, standardizing ZAP-70 expression analysis has been unsuccessful. CpG+223 methylation was quantitatively determined in 295 untreated CLL cases using MassARRAY. Impact on clinical outcome vs CD38 and ZAP-70 expression and IGHV status was evaluated. Cases with low methylation (<20%) had significantly shortened time to first treatment (TT) and overall survival (OS) (P < .0001). For TT, low methylation defined a large subset of ZAP-70 protein-negative cases with significantly shortened TT (median, 8.0 vs 3.9 years for high vs low methylation; hazard ratio [HR] = 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25-0.74). Conversely, 16 ZAP-70 protein-positive cases with high methylation had poor outcome (median, 1.1 vs 2.3 years for high vs low methylation; HR = 1.62; 95% CI, 0.87-3.03). For OS, ZAP-70 methylation was the strongest risk factor; CD38 and ZAP-70 expression or IGHV status did not significantly improve OS prediction. A pyrosequencing assay was established that reproduced the MassARRAY data (κ coefficient > 0.90). Thus, ZAP-70 CpG+223 methylation represents a superior biomarker for TT and OS that can be feasibly measured, supporting its use in risk-stratifying CLL.

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