The cancer-risk-associated rs6983267 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and the accompanying long noncoding RNA CCAT2 in the highly amplified 8q24.21 region have been implicated in cancer predisposition, although causality has not been established. Here, using allele-specific CCAT2 transgenic mice, MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers demonstrate that CCAT2 overexpression leads to spontaneous myeloid malignancies. They further identified that CCAT2 is overexpressed in bone marrow and peripheral blood of myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms (MDS/MPN) patients. CCAT2 induces global deregulation of gene expression by down-regulating EZH2 in vitro and in vivo in an allele-specific manner. The researchers also identified a novel non-APOBEC, non-ADAR, RNA editing at the SNP locus in MDS/MPN patients and CCAT2-transgenic mice. The RNA transcribed from the SNP locus in malignant hematopoietic cells have different allelic composition from the corresponding genomic DNA, a phenomenon rarely observed in normal cells. Our findings provide fundamental insights into the functional role of rs6983267 SNP and CCAT2 in myeloid malignancies.
Schematic model of proposed mechanism of CCAT2-induced MDS/MPN phenotypes