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Understanding the genetic and nongenetic determinants of tumor protein 53 (TP53)-mutation-driven clonal evolution and subsequent transformation is a crucial step toward the design of rational therapeutic strategies. Here we carry out allelic resolution single-cell multi-omic analysis of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) from patients with a myeloproliferative neoplasm who transform to TP53-mutant secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML). All patients showed dominant TP53 'multihit' HSPC clones at transformation, with a leukemia stem cell transcriptional signature strongly predictive of adverse outcomes in independent cohorts, across both TP53-mutant and wild-type (WT) AML. Through analysis of serial samples, antecedent TP53-heterozygous clones and in vivo perturbations, we demonstrate a hitherto unrecognized effect of chronic inflammation, which suppressed TP53 WT HSPCs while enhancing the fitness advantage of TP53-mutant cells and promoted genetic evolution. Our findings will facilitate the development of risk-stratification, early detection and treatment strategies for TP53-mutant leukemia, and are of broad relevance to other cancer types.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature genetics

Publication Date



Haematopoietic Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Medical Research Council Molecular Haematology Unit, Medical Research Council Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.