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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Risk assessment in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and a normal karyotype.

PURPOSE: The recognition of a number of leukemia-specific cytogenetic abnormalities and their role as independent prognostic factors have provided considerable insights into leukemia pathogenesis and have paved the way to adopt risk-adapted treatment. However, approximately 50% of newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a normal karyotype. There has therefore been much interest in identifying molecular markers that could help to improve the prognostic stratification of patients with normal-karyotype AML. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Consecutive untreated AML patients (n = 67) from a single institution all with normal karyotype were analyzed for the presence of mutations in the myeloid transcription factor gene CEBPA (for CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-alpha), for internal tandem duplications (ITD) of the tyrosine kinase receptor gene FLT3 (for fms-like tyrosine kinase 3), and for expression of the BAALC gene (for brain and acute leukemia, cytoplasmic). RESULTS: 17.9% of normal-karyotype AML had mutations in the CEBPA gene, and 28.4% had FLT3-ITD; 65.7% (44 of 67) had high BAALC expression and 34.3% (23 of 67) had low BAALC expression. Patients with CEBPA mutations had a very favorable course of their disease. Median disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were 33.5 and 45.5 months, respectively, compared with 10 (e.g., 12 months in patients without CEBPA mutations; P = 0.0017; P = 0.0007). AML patients with FLT3-ITD had significantly shorter median DFS (P = 0.0328) and OS (P = 0.0148) than patients without FLT3-ITD. High BAALC expression predicted for a shorter DFS (P = 0.0152) and OS (P = 0.0210) compared with AML with low BAALC expression; 53.7% of normal-karyotype AML had neither FLT3-ITD nor CEBPA mutations. We found that high BAALC expression in normal-karyotype AML with neither FLT3-ITD nor CEBPA mutations (18 of 67) indicates adverse prognosis for both DFS and OS (P = 0.0001; e.g., P = 0.0001) compared with the group with low BAALC expression and absent FLT3-ITD and CEBPA mutations (18 of 67). Thus, BAALC expression represents a novel prognostic marker particularly for normal-karyotype AML patients with neither FLT3-ITD nor CEBPA mutations. CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of CEBPA mutations, FLT3-ITD, and BAALC expression permits to split normal-karyotype AML into clinically distinct subgroups.[1]


  1. Risk assessment in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and a normal karyotype. Bienz, M., Ludwig, M., Leibundgut, E.O., Mueller, B.U., Ratschiller, D., Solenthaler, M., Fey, M.F., Pabst, T. Clin. Cancer Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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