Nucleophosmin (NPM1) is a highly conserved nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling protein that shows a restricted nucleolar localization. Mutations of NPM1 gene leading to aberrant cytoplasmic dislocation of nucleophosmin (NPMc+) occurs in about one third of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients that exhibit distinctive biological and clinical features. We discuss the latest advances in the molecular basis of nucleophosmin traffic under physiological conditions, describe the molecular abnormalities underlying altered transport of nucleophosmin in NPM1-mutated AML and present evidences supporting the view that cytoplasmic nucleophosmin is a critical event for leukaemogenesis. We then outline how a highly specific immunohistochemical assay can be exploited to diagnose NPM1-mutated AML and myeloid sarcoma in paraffin-embedded samples by looking at aberrant nucleophosmin accumulation in cytoplasm of leukaemic cells. This procedure is also suitable for detection of haemopoietic multilineage involvement in bone marrow trephines. Moreover, use of immunohistochemistry as surrogate for molecular analysis can serve as first-line screening in AML and should facilitate implementation of the 2008 World Health Organization classification of myeloid neoplasms that now incorporates AML with mutated NPM1 (synonym: NPMc+ AML) as a new provisional entity. Finally, we discuss the future therapeutic perspectives aimed at reversing the altered nucleophosmin transport in AML with mutated NPM1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine