Heterozygous RTEL1 variants in bone marrow failure and myeloid neoplasms

Judith W. Marsh, Fernanda Gutierrez-Rodrigues, James Cooper, Jie Jiang, Shreyans Gandhi, Sachiko Kajigaya, Xingmin Feng, Maria F. Ibanez, Flavia S. Donaires, Joao P.Lopes Da Silva, Zejuan Li, Soma Das, Maria Ibenez, Alexander E. Smith, Nicholas Lea, Steven Best, Robin Ireland, Austin G. Kulasekararaj, Donal P. McLornan, Anthony PagliucaIsabelle Callebaut, Neal S. Young, Rodrigo T. Calado, Danielle M. Townsley, Ghulam J. Mufti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


BiallelicgermlinemutationsinRTEL1 (regulator of telomere elongation helicase 1) result in pathologic telomere erosion and cause dyskeratosis congenita. However, the role of RTEL1 mutations in other bone marrow failure (BMF) syndromes and myeloid neoplasms, and the contribution of monoallelic RTEL1 mutations to disease development are notwell defined. Wescreened 516 patients for germlinemutations in telomere-associated genes by next-generationsequencing in2independent cohorts; one constituting unselected patients with idiopathic BMF, unexplained cytopenia, or myeloid neoplasms (n = 457) and a second cohort comprising selected patients on the basis of the suspicion of constitutional/familial BMF (n = 59). Twenty-three RTEL1 variants were identified in 27 unrelated patients from both cohorts: 7 variants were likely pathogenic, 13 were of uncertain significance, and 3 were likely benign. Likely pathogenic RTEL1 variants were identified in 9 unrelated patients (7 heterozygous and 2 biallelic). Most patients were suspected to have constitutional BMF, which included aplastic anemia (AA), unexplained cytopenia, hypoplastic myelodysplastic syndrome, and macrocytosis with hypocellular bone marrow. In the other 18 patients, RTEL1 variants were likely benign or of uncertain significance. Telomeres were short in 21 patients (78%), and 39 telomeric overhangs were significantly eroded in 4. In summary, heterozygous RTEL1 variants were associated with marrow failure, and telomere length measurement alone may not identify patients with telomere dysfunction carrying RTEL1 variants. Pathogenicity assessment of heterozygous RTEL1 variants relied on a combination of clinical, computational, and functional data required to avoid misinterpretation of common variants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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