Rendeiro AF et al.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is characterized by substantial clinical heterogeneity, despite relatively few genetic alterations. To provide a basis for studying epigenome deregulation in CLL, here we present genome-wide chromatin accessibility maps for 88 CLL samples from 55 patients measured by the ATAC-seq assay. We also performed ChIPmentation and RNA-seq profiling for ten representative samples. Based on the resulting data set, we devised and applied a bioinformatic method that links chromatin profiles to clinical annotations. Our analysis identified sample-specific variation on top of a shared core of CLL regulatory regions. IGHV mutation status-which distinguishes the two major subtypes of CLL-was accurately predicted by the chromatin profiles and gene regulatory networks inferred for IGHV-mutated versus IGHV-unmutated samples identified characteristic differences between these two disease subtypes. In summary, we discovered widespread heterogeneity in the chromatin landscape of CLL, established a community resource for studying epigenome deregulation in leukaemia and demonstrated the feasibility of large-scale chromatin accessibility mapping in cancer cohorts and clinical research.