This study was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Severance Hospital (Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 4-2010-0669). KG1 and KG1a human leukaemia cell lines were obtained from the American Type Culture Collection (Manassas, VA, USA). KG1 cells were cultured in Roswell Park Memorial Institute-1640 medium (Gibco, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA, USA), and KG1a cells were cultured in Iscove’s modified Dulbecco’s medium (Gibco). All media were supplemented with 10% foetal bovine serum, 100 U/mL penicillin, and 100 μg/mL streptomycin (Gibco) at 37 °C in a humidified environment under 5% CO2. Primary samples were obtained from the BM aspirates of AML patients at diagnosis (n = 4) and healthy donors who donated their BM aspirates for allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) (n = 4). To minimise the confounding effects specific to cytogenetic and/or molecular abnormalities, we utilised primary AML blasts only from cytogenetically normal AML patients without recurrent mutations. The clinical characteristics of AML patients at diagnosis or at relapse are summarised in Additional file 1: Table S1, S2. BM mononuclear cells (BMMCs) were isolated by Ficoll–Hypaque (GE Healthcare, Chicago, IL, USA) density gradient centrifugation. The patient cohort was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02344966), and all patients and healthy donors provided written informed consent.

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