The underlying cause of CMML is the presence of mutations that result in aberrant DNA methylation. Therefore, compounds that inhibit enzymes that mediate DNA methylation are often used to treat this cancer.
Not all patients benefit from these treatments, and those that will are not readily identifiable.
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies a molecular signature that is predictive of CMML patient response to the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor decitabine.
Monica Figueroa and colleagues at the University of Michigan Medical School evaluated bone marrow in patients with CMML at the time of their diagnosis and after treatment with decitabine.
Patients that responded to decitabine had a different DNA methylation pattern than those who were not responsive to treatment.
Moreover, methylation signatures were able to classify patients as responders or non-responders at the time of diagnosis.
This study indicates that evaluation of methylation signatures may be a useful tool for determining the course of treatment in patients with CMML.