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Genetic profiling can help doctors more accurately predict prognosis and guide treatment decisions for leukemia patients
Date:3/14/2012

trials with patient consent. The trial, led by Martin S. Tallman, MD, Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Leukemia Service, explored whether increasing the standard dose of chemotherapy in AML patients under age 60 would improve survival.

The team that performed the genetic analysis, which included investigators from Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Weill Cornell Medical College, and other institutions, analyzed the samples for abnormalities, or mutations, within 18 genes known to have alterations in people with AML. The researchers noted the relationship between the mutations present in each patient and how that patient ultimately fared with the disease receiving either the standard or increased chemotherapy dose.

"Our findings have important clinical implications for patients with AML, demonstrating that genetic profiling can improve current prognostic models and help guide therapeutic decisions so patients have an optimal result," says Dr. Tallman, who is a co-author of the new study. "Moving forward, the challenge will be to provide this genetic information in a timely and affordable way to influence treatment decisions prospectively," he adds.

The analysis allowed the researchers to determine specific risk levels for a variety of gene-mutation combinations. They also were able to establish that the higher chemotherapy dose used in the trial benefited only some of the patients. The investigators took into account variables such as patient age and gender and validated the results in a separate group of patients to ensure that the profiling approach will be generally applicable beyond the current trial.

Dr. Levine and his Memorial Sloan-Kettering colleagues are working to translate the results from the study into clinical use. "We've already developed genetic tests, which can be used to test for this set of mutations in patients, and we're in the process of making sure they work well in practice," he says. "We have preliminary evidenc
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Contact: Esther Napolitano
napolite@mskcc.org
212-639-3573
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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