Br J Haematol. 2020 Nov 18. doi: 10.1111/bjh.17211. Online ahead of print.
Multiple oncogenic events are involved in the development of adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATL). Because CD28 plays a pivotal role in T-cell activation, we focused on alterations of the CD28 gene in ATL. We found multiple genetic abnormalities related to CD28 among the 144 patients enrolled in the present study. These involved gene fusions with the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 or the inducible T-cell co-stimulator in 14 patients (10%), CD28-activating mutations in 3 (2%), and
CD28 copy number variations in 34 (24%). Patients with such CD28 gene alterations were significantly younger than those without. In patients not receiving allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, those with CD28 gene alterations tended to have a worse prognosis than those without. Finally, patients with chronic or smouldering ATL subtypes with CD28 gene alterations had a significantly worse prognosis than those without. These findings indicate that ATL, especially chronic or smouldering subtypes, have a more aggressive clinical course and are more refractory to conventional chemotherapies or mogamulizumab if they harbour CD28 gene alterations, likely because of continuous, prolonged, and enhanced CD28 activatory signalling. Novel treatment strategies to overcome the effects of these CD28 gene alterations are warranted.