About 13,300 new cases of AML and 8,200 deaths from the disease are expected this year in the United States.
In about half of cases, patients leukemia cells have chromosome changes that help doctors determine whether standard therapy will suffice to prevent recurrence, or whether the individual needs aggressive treatment such as a stem-cell transplant or an experimental therapy.
The remaining patients have leukemia cells with chromosomes that look normal. Determining the best therapy for these individuals is much more difficult.
Recent research has identified changes within genes mutations that may help doctors identify which patients with normal-looking chromosomes have a high or low risk of relapse if given standard chemotherapy.
The new retrospective study suggests that changes in microRNA patterns might also predict relapse risk in these AML patients.
For this study, Marcucci, Bloomfield and colleagues began by measuring microRNA levels in blood samples collected from 64 AML patients under age 60 whose leukemia cells had normal-looking chromosome. The cells also had two gene markers indicating that the patients had a high risk of relapse.
All the patients had been treated through a clinical trial sponsored by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), a national clinical cooperative group.
This analysis revealed that abnormal levels of members of seven different families of microRNAs were associated with recurrence. The researchers then validated this molecular signature in a second group of 55 similar patients who had received identical therapy through a different CALGB trial.
High levels of members of six microRNA families were associated with greater recurrence risk, while high levels of members of the microRNA-181 family were associated with lower recurrence risk.
In addition, the researchers used a comput
|Contact: Darrell E. Ward|
Ohio State University Medical Center