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Study identifies possible new acute leukemia marker, treatment target
Date:5/13/2013

e researchers also note that because a molecule called NF-kB is believed to regulate miR-155, treatments that inhibit that molecule might also help patients with high miR-155 levels.

Cells use microRNA molecules to help regulate the kinds and amount of proteins they make. Abnormal levels of certain microRNAs are likely to play a key role in cancer development. Abnormally high expression of miR-155 is associated with lymphoma, aggressive chronic leukemias and certain solid tumors, and microRNA levels have been associated with patient survival.

For this study, Marcucci, Bloomfield and their colleagues analyzed bone-marrow or blood specimens from 363 CN-AML patients, 153 of whom were under age 60 and 210 were age 60 and over. All were treated on Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) clinical trials.

The researchers evaluated the association of abnormal miR-155 expression levels with clinical and molecular characteristics and with disease-free survival and overall survival.

The study's key technical findings include:

  • Overall, patients with high miR-155 expression were about 50 percent less likely to achieve complete remission, and to have a 60 percent increase in the risk of death compared to patients with low miR-155 expression.
  • High miR-155 expression was associated with pro-survival, proliferation and inflammatory gene activity, suggesting a pivotal role in leukemia development.
  • In patients under age 60, higher miR-155 expression was associated with a lower complete response rate, and shorter disease-free survival and overall survival; in older patients, higher miR-155 expression was associated only with a lower complete response rate and shorter overall survival.
  • The difference between older and younger patients may be related to differences in the intensity of consolidation therapy administered to younger versus older patients, as well as to biological differences.


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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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