Myeloid sarcomas are extramedullary accumulations of immature myeloid cells that may present with or without evidence of pathologic involvement of the bone marrow or peripheral blood, and often coincide with or precede a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A dearth of experimental models has hampered the study of myeloid sarcomas and led us to establish a new system in which tumor induction can be evaluated in an easily accessible non-hematopoietic tissue compartment. Using ex-vivo transduction of oncogenic Kras(G12V) into p16/p19(-/-) bone marrow cells, we generated transplantable leukemia-initiating cells that rapidly induced tumor formation in the skeletal muscle of immunocompromised NOD.SCID mice. In this model, murine histiocytic sarcomas, equivalent to human myeloid sarcomas, emerged at the injection site 30-50 days after cell implantation and consisted of tightly packed monotypic cells that were CD48+, CD47+ and Mac1+, with low or absent expression of other hematopoietic lineage markers. Tumor cells also infiltrated the bone marrow, spleen and other non-hematopoietic organs of tumor-bearing animals, leading to systemic illness (leukemia) within two weeks of tumor detection. P16/p19(-/-); Kras(G12V) myeloid sarcomas were multi-clonal, with dominant clones selected during secondary transplantation. The systemic leukemic phenotypes exhibited by histiocytic sarcoma-bearing mice were nearly identical to those of animals in which leukemia was introduced by intravenous transplantation of the same donor cells. Moreover, murine histiocytic sarcoma could be similarly induced by intramuscular injection of MLL-AF9 leukemia cells. This study establishes a novel, transplantable model of murine histiocytic/myeloid sarcoma that recapitulates the natural progression of these malignancies to systemic disease and indicates a cell autonomous leukemogenic mechanism.

Related Faculty

Photo of Amy Wagers

Amy Wagers seeks to change the way we repair our tissues after an injury. Her research focuses on defining the factors and mechanisms that regulate the migration, expansion, and regenerative potential of adult blood-forming and muscle-forming stem cells.

Search Menu