Prevalence, predictors, and outcomes of clonal hematopoiesis in individuals aged ≥80 years

Isabelle A van Zeventer, Jonas B Salzbrunn, Aniek O de Graaf, Bert A van der Reijden, H Marike Boezen, Judith M Vonk, Pim van der Harst, Jan Jacob Schuringa, Joop H Jansen*, Gerwin Huls*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Clonal hematopoiesis (CH), characterized by a fraction of peripheral blood cells carrying an acquired genetic variant, emerges with age. Although in general CH is associated with increased mortality and morbidity, no higher risk of death was observed for individuals ≥80 years. Here, we investigated CH in 621 individuals aged ≥80 years from the population-based LifeLines cohort. Sensitive error-corrected sequencing of 27 driver genes at a variant allele frequency ≥1% revealed CH in the majority (62%) of individuals, independent of gender. The observed mutational spectrum was dominated by DNMT3A and TET2 variants, which frequently (29%) displayed multiple mutations per gene. In line with previous results in individuals ≥80 years, the overall presence of CH did not associate with a higher risk of death (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.70-1.18; P = .48). Being able to assess the causes of death, we observed no difference between individuals with or without CH, except for deaths related to hematological malignancies. Interestingly, comparison of mutational spectra confined to DNMT3A and TET2 vs spectra containing other mutated genes, showed a higher risk of death when mutations other than DNMT3A or TET2 were present (hazard ratio, 1.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-2.08; P = .025). Surprisingly, no association of CH with cardiovascular morbidity was found, irrespective of clone size. Further, CH associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Data on estimated exposure to DNA damaging toxicities (ie, smoking, a history of cancer [as a proxy for previous genotoxic therapy], and job-related pesticide exposure) showed an association with spliceosome and ASXL1 variants, but not with DNMT3A and TET2 variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2115-2122
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27-Apr-2021

Cite this