Somatic and germline genomics in paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Advances in genomic research and risk-directed therapy have led to improvements in the long-term survival and quality of life outcomes of patients with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The application of next-generation sequencing technologies, especially transcriptome sequencing, has resulted in the identification of novel molecular subtypes of ALL with prognostic and therapeutic implications, as well as cooperative mutations that account for much of the heterogeneity in clinical responses observed among patients with specific ALL subtypes. In addition, germline genetic variants have been shown to influence the risk of developing ALL and/or the responses of non-malignant and leukaemia cells to therapy; shared pathways for drug activation and metabolism are implicated in treatment-related toxicity and drug sensitivity or resistance, depending on whether the genetic changes are germline, somatic or both. Indeed, although once considered a non-hereditary disease, genomic investigations of familial and sporadic ALL have revealed a growing number of genetic alterations or conditions that predispose individuals to the development of ALL and treatment-related second cancers. The identification of these genetic alterations holds the potential to direct genetic counselling, testing and possibly monitoring for the early detection of ALL and other cancers. Herein, we review these advances in our understanding of the genomic landscape of childhood ALL and their clinical implications.