Using a mouse model of human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) induced by the MLL-AF9 oncogene, we demonstrate that colony-forming cells (CFCs) in the bone marrow and spleen of leukemic mice are also leukemia stem cells (LSCs). These self-renewing cells (1) are frequent, accounting for 25%-30% of myeloid lineage cells at late-stage disease; (2) generate a phenotypic, morphologic, and functional leukemia cell hierarchy; (3) express mature myeloid lineage-specific antigens; and (4) exhibit altered microenvironmental interactions by comparison with the oncogene-immortalized CFCs that initiated the disease. Therefore, the LSCs responsible for sustaining, expanding, and regenerating MLL-AF9 AML are downstream myeloid lineage cells, which have acquired an aberrant Hox-associated self-renewal program as well as other biologic features of hematopoietic stem cells. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Cancer Research Centre