Recurrent mutations in IDH1 or IDH2 in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are associated with increased DNA methylation, but the genome-wide patterns of this hypermethylation phenotype have not been comprehensively studied in AML samples. We analyzed whole-genome bisulfite sequencing data from 15 primary AML samples with IDH1 or IDH2 mutations, which identified ~4000 focal regions that were uniquely hypermethylated in IDHmut samples vs. normal CD34+ cells and other AMLs. These regions had modest hypermethylation in AMLs with biallelic TET2 mutations, and levels of 5-hydroxymethylation that were diminished in IDH and TET-mutant samples, indicating that this hypermethylation results from inhibition of TET-mediated demethylation. Focal hypermethylation in IDHmut AMLs occurred at regions with low methylation in CD34+ cells, implying that DNA methylation and demethylation are active at these loci. AML samples containing IDH and DNMT3AR882 mutations were significantly less hypermethylated, suggesting that IDHmut-associated hypermethylation is mediated by DNMT3A. IDHmut-specific hypermethylation was highly enriched for enhancers that form direct interactions with genes involved in normal hematopoiesis and AML, including MYC and ETV6. These results suggest that focal hypermethylation in IDH-mutant AML occurs by altering the balance between DNA methylation and demethylation, and that disruption of these pathways at enhancers may contribute to AML pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-945
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


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