Current strategies for genetic therapy using Moloney retroviruses require ex vivo manipulation of hematopoietic cells to facilitate stable integration of the transgene. While many studies have evaluated the impact of ex vivo culture on normal murine and human stem/progenitor cells, the cellular consequences of ex vivo manipulation of stem cells with intrinsic defects in genome stability are incompletely understood. Here we show that ex vivo culture of Fancc -/- bone marrow cells results in a time-dependent increase in apoptosis of primitive Fancc-/- progenitor cells in conditions that promote the proliferation of wild-type stem/progenitor cells. Further, recipients reconstituted with the surviving Fancc-/- cells have a high incidence of cytogenetic abnormalities and myeloid malignancies that are associated with an acquired resistance to tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α). Collectively, these data indicate that the intrinsic defects in the genomic stability of Fancc-/- stem/progenitor cells provide a selective pressure for cells that are resistant to apoptosis and have a propensity for the evolution to clonal hematopoiesis and malignancy. These studies could have implications for the design of genetic therapies for treatment of Fanconi anemia and potentially other genetic diseases with intrinsic defects in genome stability.
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