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Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL) is a disease where too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Symptoms can include persistent fever, weakness or tiredness, achiness in the bones or joints, or swollen lymph nodes. Adult ALL and its treatment is usually different to childhood ALL. Almost a third of adult patients have a specific chromosome translocation; "Philadelphia Positive" ALL.

(UK spelling: Leukaemia)

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Information for Patients and the Public
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Latest Research Publications
Childhood ALL
Molecular Genetics of ALL

Information Patients and the Public (10 links)


Information for Health Professionals / Researchers (7 links)

Latest Research Publications

This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).

Shabestari RM, Safa M, Alikarami F, et al.
CREB knockdown inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in human pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells through inhibition of prosurvival signals.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 87:274-279 [PubMed] Related Publications
A majority of acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients overexpress CREB in the bone marrow. However, the functional significance of this up-regulation and the detailed molecular mechanism behind the regulatory effect of CREB on the growth of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) cells has not been elucidated. We demonstrated here that CREB knockdown induced apoptosis and impaired growth of BCP-ALL NALM-6 cells which was associated with caspase activation. The gene expression levels of prosurvival signals Bcl-2, Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, survivin and XIAP were down-regulated upon CREB suppression. These findings indicate a critical role for CREB in proliferation, survival, and apoptosis of BCP-ALL cells. The data also suggest that CREB could possibly serve as potential therapeutic target in BCP-ALL.

Eskandari-Nasab E, Hashemi M, Hasani SS, et al.
Evaluation of functional RAGE gene polymorphisms in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia-A case-control study from Iran.
Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids. 2017; 36(3):170-180 [PubMed] Related Publications
We examined the possible relationship between three RAGE polymorphisms, -429C/T, -374 T/A, and 63-bp deletion, and susceptibility to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in an Iranian population. This study included 75 ALL patients and 115 healthy subjects. Genotyping was performed using HEXA-ARMS-polymerase chain reaction. We found no significant association among RAGE gene polymorphisms and the risk for ALL at genotype, allelic and haplotype levels (P > 0.05). The hemoglobin levels were higher in patients with RAGE -374 TT than in the TA carriers (P = 0.019). Our results demonstrated that the RAGE gene variations were not associated with risk of pediatrics ALL.

Zhelev Z, Ivanova D, Bakalova R, et al.
Synergistic Cytotoxicity of Melatonin and New-generation Anticancer Drugs Against Leukemia Lymphocytes But Not Normal Lymphocytes.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(1):149-159 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study demonstrates specific sensitization of leukemia lymphocytes towards anticancer drugs using melatonin and clarifies the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) for induction of apoptosis. The study covers four conventional and 11 new-generation anticancer drugs. Four parameters were analyzed simultaneously in leukemia and normal lymphocytes treated with drug, melatonin, or their combination: cell viability, induction of apoptosis, level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and level of protein-carbonyl products. Almost all investigated combinations of melatonin with new-generation anticancer drugs were characterized by synergistic cytotoxicity towards leukemia lymphocytes, while the combinations with conventional drugs exhibited additive or antagonistic effects on cell viability. In leukemia lymphocytes, the additive cytotoxicity of doxorubicin plus melatonin was accompanied by low levels of ROS and protein-carbonyl products, as well as by suppression of apoptosis. In normal lymphocytes, none of the studied parameters changed significantly compared to cells treated with doxorubicin only. The combinations of everolimus plus melatonin and barasertib plus melatonin exhibited impressive synergistic cytotoxic effects on leukemia lymphocytes but did not affect the viability of normal lymphocytes. In leukemia cells, the synergistic cytotoxicity was accompanied by strong induction of apoptosis but a decrease of ROS to a level below that of the control. In normal lymphocytes, these combinations did not affect the level of ROS nor of protein-carbonyl products, and did not induce apoptosis. The data suggest that melatonin is a promising supplementary component in chemotherapy which allows the therapeutic doses of anticancer drugs to be reduced, minimizing their side-effects.

Serravalle S, Bertuccio SN, Astolfi A, et al.
Synergistic Cytotoxic Effect of L-Asparaginase Combined with Decitabine as a Demethylating Agent in Pediatric T-ALL, with Specific Epigenetic Signature.
Biomed Res Int. 2016; 2016:1985750 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
T-Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL) remains a subgroup of pediatric ALL, with a lower response to standard chemotherapy. Some recent studies established the fundamental role of epigenetic aberrations such as DNA hypermethylation, to influence patients' outcome and response to chemotherapy. Moreover, L-asparaginase is an important chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of ALL and resistance to this drug has been linked to ASNS expression, which can be silenced through methylation. Therefore, we tested whether the sensitivity of T-ALL cell lines towards L-asparaginase is correlated to the epigenetic status of ASNS gene and whether the sensitivity can be modified by concurrent demethylating treatment. Hence we treated different T-ALL cell lines with L-asparaginase and correlated different responses to the treatment with ASNS expression. Then we demonstrated that the ASNS expression was dependent on the methylation status of the promoter. Finally we showed that, despite the demethylating effect on the ASNS gene expression, the combined treatment with the demethylating agent Decitabine could synergistically improve the L-asparaginase sensitivity in those T-ALL cell lines characterized by hypermethylation of the ASNS gene. In conclusion, this preclinical study identified an unexpected synergistic activity of L-asparaginase and Decitabine in the subgroup of T-ALL with low ASNS expression due to hypermethylation of the ASNS promoter, while it did not restore sensitivity in the resistant cell lines characterized by higher ASNS expression.

Davila ML, Brentjens RJ
CD19-Targeted CAR T cells as novel cancer immunotherapy for relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2016; 14(10):802-808 [PubMed] Related Publications
Immunotherapy has demonstrated significant potential for the treatment of patients with chemotherapy-resistant hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. One type of immunotherapy involves the adoptive transfer of T cells that have been genetically modified with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to target a tumor. These hybrid proteins are composed of the antigen-binding domains of an antibody fused to T-cell receptor signaling machinery. CAR T cells that target CD19 recently have made the jump from the laboratory to the clinic, and the results have been remarkable. CD19-targeted CAR T cells have induced complete remissions of disease in up to 90% of patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), who have an expected complete response rate of 30% in response to chemotherapy. The high efficacy of CAR T cells in B-ALL suggests that regulatory approval of this therapy for this routinely fatal leukemia is on the horizon. We review the preclinical development of CAR T cells and their early clinical application for lymphoma. We also provide a comprehensive analysis of the use of CAR T cells in patients with B-ALL. In addition, we discuss the unique toxicities associated with this therapy and the management schemes that have been developed.

Delvecchio M, Muggeo P, Monteduro M, et al.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with early left ventricular dysfunction in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia survivors.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2017; 176(2):111-121 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) survivors have an increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. We aimed to assess the presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in childhood ALL and if it is associated with early cardiovascular dysfunction.
METHODS: In total, 53 childhood ALL survivors and 34 controls underwent auxological evaluation, biochemical assay, liver, heart and vascular ultrasound study.
RESULTS: NAFLD was more frequent in ALL patients than in controls (39.6% vs 11.7%, P < 0.01). Patients with NAFLD were more obese and insulin resistant than patients without NAFLD. Flow-mediated dilatation and interventricular septum were lower in the ALL group than those in the control group (P < 0.001 for both). The patients with NAFLD showed lower left ventricular ejection fraction than those without NAFLD (P = 0.011). In ALL survivors, BMI-SDS and subcutaneous fat were the strongest predictors of NAFLD, whereas preperitoneal adipose tissue and C-reactive protein were the strongest predictors of left ventricular ejection fraction.
CONCLUSIONS: Childhood ALL survivors had higher prevalence of NAFLD than healthy controls, which is associated with early left ventricular impairment. In the case of fatty liver, a comprehensive heart evaluation is mandatory. We strongly recommend to prevent visceral adiposity in ALL survivors, to search for metabolic syndrome or its components and to reinforce the need of intervention on diet and lifestyle during the follow-up of these patients.

Mishra R, Das MK, Singh S, et al.
Articulatin-D induces apoptosis via activation of caspase-8 in acute T-cell leukemia cell line.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2017; 426(1-2):87-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
Leukemia is among the most aggressive and prevalent human malignant carcinoma. Chemotherapy is the preferred therapeutic strategy; however, recurrence of cancer and non-selective cytotoxicity are the major concerns. Unlike synthetic chemotherapeutic agents, mistletoe ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) displays anti-tumor function in various types of cancers. However, its effect on leukemia cells is little explored. In this study, we assessed the impact of Viscum articulatum RIP (Articulatin-D) on the survival of acute T-cell leukemia cells and the involved molecular and cellular mechanisms. Cell proliferation assay showed that Articulatin-D suppressed the viability of leukemia cells selectively. We further confirmed that the elevation of mitochondrial membrane potential and exposure of phosphatidylserine are the early events of apoptosis induction in Articulatin-D-treated Jurkat cells. Subsequently, we found that Articulatin-D treatment induces apoptosis in Jurkat cells in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. In conclusion, we provided evidence that Articulatin-D efficiently activates caspase-8 involved in extrinsic pathway of apoptosis induction, which ultimately results in caspase-3-dependent DNA fragmentation of Jurkat cells. Further evaluation of Articulatin-D in cell culture and animal models may provide novel information on selective cytotoxicity to acute T-cell leukemia and its involvement in targeting tumor cell survival pathways.

Singh SK, Lupo PJ, Scheurer ME, et al.
A childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia genome-wide association study identifies novel sex-specific risk variants.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016; 95(46):e5300 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) occurs more frequently in males. Reasons behind sex differences in childhood ALL risk are unknown. In the present genome-wide association study (GWAS), we explored the genetic basis of sex differences by comparing genotype frequencies between male and female cases in a case-only study to assess effect-modification by sex.The case-only design included 236 incident cases of childhood ALL consecutively recruited at the Texas Children's Cancer Center in Houston, Texas from 2007 to 2012. All cases were non-Hispanic whites, aged 1 to 10 years, and diagnosed with confirmed B-cell precursor ALL. Genotyping was performed using the Illumina HumanCoreExome BeadChip on the Illumina Infinium platform. Besides the top 100 statistically most significant results, results were also analyzed by the top 100 highest effect size with a nominal statistical significance (P <0.05).The statistically most significant sex-specific association (P = 4 × 10) was with the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs4813720 (RASSF2), an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) for RASSF2 in peripheral blood. rs4813720 is also a strong methylation QTL (meQTL) for a CpG site (cg22485289) within RASSF2 in pregnancy, at birth, childhood, and adolescence. cg22485289 is one of the hypomethylated CpG sites in ALL compared with pre-B cells. Two missense SNPs, rs12722042 and 12722039, in the HLA-DQA1 gene yielded the highest effect sizes (odds ratio [OR] ∼ 14; P <0.01) for sex-specific results. The HLA-DQA1 SNPs belong to DQA1*01 and confirmed the previously reported male-specific association with DQA1*01. This finding supports the proposed infection-related etiology in childhood ALL risk for males. Further analyses revealed that most SNPs (either direct effect or through linkage disequilibrium) were within active enhancers or active promoter regions and had regulatory effects on gene expression levels.Cumulative data suggested that RASSF2 rs4813720, which correlates with increased RASSF2 expression, may counteract the suppressor effect of estrogen-regulated miR-17-92 on RASSF2 resulting in protection in males. Given the amount of sex hormone-related mechanisms suggested by our findings, future studies should examine prenatal or early postnatal programming by sex hormones when hormone levels show a large variation.

Zhang W, Kuang P, Li H, et al.
Prognostic significance of IKZF1 deletion in adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a meta-analysis.
Ann Hematol. 2017; 96(2):215-225 [PubMed] Related Publications
The IKAROS family zinc finger 1 (IKZF1) gene is frequently altered in adults with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Although many studies have indicated that IKZF1 alterations might be associated with poor outcomes in adults with ALL, the results remain controversial. A previous meta-analysis demonstrated the negative prognostic significance of IKZF1 deletion in ALL. However, most of the included studies (14 out of 15) were conducted in pediatric patients with ALL, and age was identified as a significant source of heterogeneity. Thus, performing the present meta-analysis provides valuable information to further elucidate the prognostic value of IKZF1 deletion in adults with ALL. Eight studies were identified that had been published prior to August 1, 2016. The studies included a total of 1008 patients. Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS)/relapse-free survival (RFS)/progression-free survival (PFS)/event-free survival (EFS) were pooled to estimate the prognostic power of IKZF1 deletion. Pooled HRs suggested that IKZF1 deletion had a negative impact on both OS (HR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.13-1.73) and DFS/RFS/PFS/EFS (HR = 1.67, 95% CI 1.28-2.17) in the overall population. Subgroup analyses indicated that IKZF1 deletion could independently predict unfavorable OS (HR = 1.60, 95% CI 1.25-2.06) and DFS/RFS/PFS/EFS (HR = 1.67, 95% CI 1.28-2.17) in BCR-ABL1-negative but not in BCR-ABL1-positive B cell ALL patients. Our meta-analysis suggests that IKZF1 deletion is a poor prognostic factor for adults with B cell ALL and may be more valuable in BCR-ABL1-negative B cell ALL patients.

Avcu G, Karapinar DY, Akinci AB, et al.
Utility of the serum galactomannan assay for the diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Int J Infect Dis. 2017; 54:8-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in children with hematological malignancies. The monitoring of serum galactomannan (GM) antigen is considered useful in the diagnosis of IA . The aim of this study was to determine the utility of serum GM monitoring in the early diagnosis of IA and the role of positive antigenemia in the management of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
METHODS: The cases of 141 children who were being treated for ALL in the Division of Pediatric Hematology of the Medical School of Ege University between January 2006 and February 2015 were reviewed retrospectively. Cases of proven and probable IA were defined according to the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycoses Study Group (EORTC/MSG) criteria.
RESULTS: The incidence of proven and probable IA was 3.5% (5/141). The incidence of positive GM antigenemia among 3264 serum samples was 5.5% (n=179). Of the cases detected, 21.7% were true-positive, 52.1% were false-positive, and the remaining 26.1% were classified as 'undetermined.' An increase in the incidence of true-positive tests and induction of antifungal therapy was determined through multiple consecutive positive tests.
CONCLUSIONS: GM may be detected in the serum before the clinical signs of IA appear, but its sensitivity and specificity are variable. False-positivity is a significant disadvantage, and consecutive positive GM must be taken into account in the case of clinical and imaging findings that are relevant to IA.

Yilmaz UC, Bagca BG, Karaca E, et al.
Evaluation of the miRNA profiling and effectiveness of the propolis on B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 84:1266-1273 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is one of the most frequent causes of death from cancer. Since the discovery of chemotherapeutic agents, ALL has become a model for improvement of survival. In parallel to this, serious side effects were observed and new natural therapeutic options has been discussed. One of these substances is called propolis which is a resinous substance gathered by honeybees. In the molecular era, miRNAs have been shown to play crucial roles in the development of many clinical conditions. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of Aydın propolis on 81 human miRNA activity in CCRF-SB leukemia cell line. Apoptotic effects of propolis on cell lines were also evaluated and apoptosis were found to be induced 1.5 fold in B-cell leukemia cells. The expression of 63 miRNAs (46 miRNAs were downregulated, 19 miRNAs were upregulated) in propolis treated leukemia cells have changed significantly (p<0.05). In conclusion propolis has changed expression of miRNAs which have epigenetic effects on leukemic cells. It is thought that it can be a promising agent for ALL treatment for future studies.

Refaei M, Fernandes B, Brandwein J, et al.
Incidence of catheter-related thrombosis in acute leukemia patients: a comparative, retrospective study of the safety of peripherally inserted vs. centrally inserted central venous catheters.
Ann Hematol. 2016; 95(12):2057-2064 [PubMed] Related Publications
Central venous catheters are a leading cause of upper-extremity deep vein thrombosis. Concomitant severe thrombocytopenia makes anticoagulation for catheter-related thrombosis (CRT) in patients with acute leukemia (AL) a challenge. Incidence of CRT has been reported to be increased in those with peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) vs. those with centrally inserted ones (CICC). Our objective is to compare the incidence rate of CRT in leukemia inpatients who received either a PICC vs. CICC. We retrospectively reviewed adult inpatients admitted to hematology wards with a new diagnosis of AL and who received either a PICC or a CICC. Baseline patient and catheter characteristics were recorded. Our primary outcome was the incidence rate of CRT in each group. The secondary outcomes included rates of infectious and mechanical complications. Six hundred sixty-three patients received at least one PICC (338) or CICC (325) insertion. A total of 1331 insertions were recorded, with 82 (11.7 %) and 41 (6.5 %) CRT in the PICC and CICC groups, respectively. The incidence rates were 1.89 and 0.52 per 1000 catheter day in the PICC and CICC groups, respectively. A PICC, when compared to CICC, was a significant risk factor for CRT (sHR 2.5, p < 0.0001). The prevalence and incidence rates of CRT in our AL patients were higher than predicted for a general cancer patient population. These rates were higher in the PICC group compared to the CICC group. We recommend careful consideration of thrombotic and bleeding risks of AL inpatients when choosing a central venous catheter.

Portich JP, Gil MS, Dos Santos RP, et al.
Low brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels are associated with active disease and poor prognosis in childhood acute leukemia.
Cancer Biomark. 2016; 17(3):347-352 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, tropomyosin-related receptor kinase B (TrkB) are involved in the maturation of B lymphocytes in the bone marrow (BM), promote cell differentiation in B-cell malignancies, and are associated with poor prognosis in adults with acute leukemia (AL). However, the role of BDNF in pediatric AL remains poorly understood.
OBJECTIVE: We carried out a cohort observational study to evaluate BDNF levels in BM or peripheral blood (PB) samples from children with AL.
METHODS: BM or PB samples were collected from 57 children and adolescents with acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), 14 children and adolescents with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and 44 healthy individuals (HI) of the same age range.
RESULTS: BDNF levels at diagnosis in AL patients were significantly lower when compared to HI. Samples from patients in complete remission from disease had higher levels of BDNF compared to those obtained from patients with malignant cells. Moreover, BDNF levels at diagnosis in patients who died were significantly lower compared to those found in survivors.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide the first evidence for a possible role of BDNF as a marker of active disease and poor prognosis in pediatric AL.

Pei JS, Hsu PC, Chou AK, et al.
Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 Genotype Contributes to the Risk of Non-solid Tumor in Childhood Leukemia.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(10):5127-5132 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Up-regulation of metalloproteinase (MMPs) proteins have been shown in various types of solid cancers and the genotype of MMP1 has been associated with the risk of solid cancers. However, the contribution of MMP1 genotype to leukemia has never been investigated to our knowledge. Therefore, in this study we aimed to evaluate the contribution of the genotypic variants in the promoter region of MMP1 to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) risk in Taiwan.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this case-control study, 266 patients with childhood ALL and 266 non-cancer controls were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism methodology.
RESULTS: The distribution of 2G/2G, 1G/2G and 1G/1G for MMP1 promoter rs1799750 genotype was 49.2%, 39.5% and 11.3% in the childhood ALL group and 36.8%, 43.6% and 19.5% in the non-cancer control group, respectively (p for trend=0.0046), significantly differentially distributed between childhood ALL and control groups. The carrier comparisons in dominant and recessive models also support the findings that 1G appears to be the protective allele in childhood ALL. In genotype and gender interaction analysis, it was found that boys carrying the MMP1 rs1799750 1G/2G or 1G/1G genotypes had lower odds ratios(ORs) of 0.68 and 0.43 [95% confidence intervals (CI)=0.47-0.98 and 0.26-0.73, p=0.0395 and 0.0013, respectively] for childhood ALL than those carrying the 2G/2G genotype. Analysis of genotype inaction with age of onset age showed those aged less than 3.5 years at onset carrying the 1G/2G or 1G/1G genotypes had lower ORs (0.0183 and 0.0004, respectively) for childhood ALL, but there was no such difference for those having an age at onset of 3.5 years or more.
CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that the MMP1 rs1799750 1G allele is a protective biomarker for childhood ALL.

Mousavian Z, Nowzari-Dalini A, Stam RW, et al.
Network-based expression analysis reveals key genes related to glucocorticoid resistance in infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2017; 40(1):33-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Despite vast improvements that have been made in the treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the majority of infant ALL patients (~80 %, < 1 year of age) that carry a chromosomal translocation involving the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene shows a poor response to chemotherapeutic drugs, especially glucocorticoids (GCs), which are essential components of all current treatment regimens. Although addressed in several studies, the mechanism(s) underlying this phenomenon have remained largely unknown. A major drawback of most previous studies is their primary focus on individual genes, thereby neglecting the putative significance of inter-gene correlations. Here, we aimed at studying GC resistance in MLL-rearranged infant ALL patients by inferring an associated module of genes using co-expression network analysis. The implications of newly identified candidate genes with associations to other well-known relevant genes from the same module, or with associations to known transcription factor or microRNA interactions, were substantiated using literature data.
METHODS: A weighted gene co-expression network was constructed to identify gene modules associated with GC resistance in MLL-rearranged infant ALL patients. Significant gene ontology (GO) terms and signaling pathways enriched in relevant modules were used to provide guidance towards which module(s) consisted of promising candidates suitable for further analysis.
RESULTS: Through gene co-expression network analysis a novel set of genes (module) related to GC-resistance was identified. The presence in this module of the S100 and ANXA genes, both well-known biomarkers for GC resistance in MLL-rearranged infant ALL, supports its validity. Subsequent gene set net correlation analyses of the novel module provided further support for its validity by showing that the S100 and ANXA genes act as 'hub' genes with potentially major regulatory roles in GC sensitivity, but having lost this role in the GC resistant phenotype. The detected module implicates new genes as being candidates for further analysis through associations with known GC resistance-related genes.
CONCLUSIONS: From our data we conclude that available systems biology approaches can be employed to detect new candidate genes that may provide further insights into drug resistance of MLL-rearranged infant ALL cases. Such approaches complement conventional gene-wise approaches by taking putative functional interactions between genes into account.

Shenoy SB, Karam T, Udupa K, Nayal B
Leukaemic infiltration of the optic nerve head: a rare site of initial relapse.
BMJ Case Rep. 2016; 2016 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 24-year-old male patient with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), in complete remission, presented with the symptoms of gradual onset painless diminution of vision in the right eye (OD) of 2-month duration. On examination, best-corrected visual acuity in OD was finger-counting at 1 m and near vision was less than N36 Anterior segment examination was normal, except for the presence of relative afferent pupillary defect in OD. Fundus examination showed optic disc oedema, peripapillary and vitreous haemorrhage, dilated and tortuous veins over the disc and presence of subretinal infiltrates and subretinal fluid around the optic disc. Clinical picture was suggestive of leukaemic infiltration of the optic nerve head. Cytological analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid did not show any abnormal cells or blasts .Vitreous biopsy from OD was suggestive of leukaemic infiltration. After radiotherapy, the leukaemic infiltrates regressed and visual acuity improved to 6/6, N6 in OD.

Chiaretti S, Foà R
How has the management of Ph(+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) changed over the years.
Rinsho Ketsueki. 2016; 57(10):2038-2048 [PubMed] Related Publications
For decades, Philadelphia-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) has been considered the ALL subgroup with the worse outcome. It represents the most frequent genetic subtype of adult ALL and, in the elderly, it accounts for approximately 50% of cases. The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has led to obtain complete hematologic remissions (CHR) in virtually all patients, to improve disease-free survival and overall survival, and to increase the percentage of patients who can undergo an allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT). Thus, the current management of adult Ph+ ALL patients is based on the use of a TKI, with or without systemic chemotherapy, followed by an allo-SCT, which still remains the only curative option. Monitoring of minimal residual disease allowed a better stratification of patients, and also enabled to redefine the role of autologous stem cell transplant for patients who do not have a donor or are unfit for an allo-transplant. The main clinical challenges are today represented by the emergence of resistant mutations, particularly the gatekeeper T315I, for which alternative approaches, including novel TKIs and/or therapies based on the combination of TKI with immunotherapeutic strategies, are being considered.

Inukai T
Mechanisms of drug resistance in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Rinsho Ketsueki. 2016; 57(10):2022-2028 [PubMed] Related Publications
Outcomes of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have improved dramatically with conventional chemotherapy consisting of multiple agents. However, considering the major impact of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment of Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL, sensitivities to each chemotherapeutic agent must be appreciated in individual cases to further improve therapeutic outcomes of ALL patients. Recent advances in genome-wide association and comprehensive genetic mutation studies with next-generation sequencing enable the involvement of single nucleotide polymorphisms and acquired genetic mutations in the drug resistance of ALL to be evaluated. Herein, we overview recent findings regarding the mechanisms of drug resistance in ALL. Our observations in a large panel of ALL cell lines are also presented.

Thomas X, Le Jeune C
Treating adults with acute lymphocytic leukemia: new pharmacotherapy options.
Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2016; 17(17):2319-2330 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Advances in acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) therapy has led to long-term survival rates in children. However, only 30%-40% of adults achieve long-term disease-free survival. After relapse, the outcome of salvage chemotherapy is very disappointing with less than 10% of long survival. Novel agents are therefore desperately required to improve response rates and survival, but also the quality of life of patients. Areas covered: The following review is a comprehensive summary of various novel options reported over the past few years in the therapeutic area of adult ALL. Expert opinion: Identifying key components involved in disease pathogenesis may lead to new approaches. In a near future, the incorporation of monoclonal antibodies and T-cell directed approaches including blinatumomab and chimeric antigen receptor T cells may increase the cure rates and may reduce the need for intensive therapy.

Rutkauskaitė V, Ragelienė L, Matuzevičienė R, et al.
Reduction in Proportion of Senescent CD8+ T Lymphocytes During Chemotherapy of Children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(11):6195-6199 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: To evaluate quantitative changes in B, NK and T lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) undergoing chemotherapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Children with ALL were treated according to NOPHO ALL 2008 protocol. Levels of B lymphocytes (CD19(+)), NK cells (CD3(-)CD56(+)) and subsets of T lymphocytes (CD3(+)CD4(+), CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+), CD3(+)CD8(+), CD3(+)CD8(+)CD57(+), CD3(+)CD8(+)CD57(-)) in peripheral blood were analyzed by flow cytometry prior and during treatment with cytotoxic drugs.
RESULTS: Immunological analyses were performed in 25 children with ALL. Levels of B and NK lymphocytes decreased continuously during chemotherapy. In contrast, levels of most T lymphocyte subsets decreased only transiently and returned to pretreatment levels by days 78 to 85. The only T lymphocyte subset that did not return to the pretreatment level contained senescent CD3(+)CD8(+)CD57(+) lymphocytes.
CONCLUSION: Immunomodulating action of chemotherapy in children with ALL results in reduction of proportion of senescent CD8(+) T lymphocytes.

Çekiç O, Biberoglu E, Esen F
Peripapillary retinal leukemic infiltration associated with papilledema in a T-ALL patient without cranial or optic nerve involvement.
Tumori. 2016; 102(Suppl. 2) [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To present a rare case of bilateral peripapillary retinal leukemic infiltration associated with papilledema without retrobulbar optic nerve involvement in a patient with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
METHODS: This was a retrospective case report.
RESULTS: A 24-year-old man with T-cell ALL and 2-month history of papilledema presented to our department with reduction of visual acuity in the left eye. Visual acuity was 20/60 in the right eye and hand movements in the left eye. Fundus examination revealed grade 3 papilledema, bilateral peripapillary leukemic infiltration, and intraretinal hemorrhages. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging did not show any sign of cranial mass or optic nerve involvement. Pulse steroid therapy and oral acetazolamide was started. At day 18, visual acuity improved to 20/40 in the right eye and 20/60 in the left eye, while papilledema improved to grade 1 and hemorrhages regressed.
CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, there is no other report of peripapillary leukemic infiltration in the absence of retrobulbar optic nerve involvement. We suspect that papilledema might have facilitated peripapillary retinal infiltration due to altered vascular permeability. The reverse could also be possible: leukemic infiltration leading to increase in vascular permeability may also contribute to papilledema.

Besbes S, Hamadou WS, Boulland ML, et al.
Combined IKZF1 and IG markers as new tools for diagnosis and minimal residual disease assessment in Tunisian B-ALL.
Bull Cancer. 2016; 103(10):822-828 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD) approach in patients diagnosed with B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) allows an early detection of residual clones inducing relapses and therefore appropriate therapy strategy. The molecular markers may identify and quantify the residual blasts in B-ALL with normal cytology. In this study, we aimed to use combined IKZF1, IGH and IGK immunoglobulin genes for diagnosis and MRD monitoring in B-ALL sample using MLPA, multiplex PCR and real-time quantitative PCR.
MATERIAL: We showed that multiplex PCR and MLPA are necessary and complementary to detect IKZF1 deletions.
RESULTS: We have identified at the diagnosis clonal IGH rearrangement (VH3-JH5) and IKZF1 deletion (Δ4-7), which we have used it for MRD evaluation after induction chemotherapy. Despite the absence of chromosome abnormality, the patient may be classified in high-risk group with a relapse rate of residual blasts>10(-4) and sensitivity up to 10(-5). This molecular approach enabled the patient's stratification, which was overlooked by classical methods.
CONCLUSION: The combined IKZF1 and immunoglobulin genes will be used as appropriate molecular tools for diagnosis and MRD assessment of B-lineage leukemias and introduced as a routine tests in Tunisian clinical laboratories. They will be useful to stratify patients into risk groups leading to better treatment strategy.

Seo YM, Hwang-Bo S, Kim SK, et al.
Fatal systemic adenoviral infection superimposed on pulmonary mucormycosis in a child with acute leukemia: A case report.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016; 95(40):e5054 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although adenovirus (ADV) infection usually causes self-limiting respiratory disorders in immune competent children; severe and systemic ADV infection in children undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia has been continuously reported. Nevertheless, there has been no consensus on risk factors and treatment strategies for severe ADV infection in children undergoing chemotherapy.
CASE SUMMARY: We report a case of a 15-year-old boy with a fatal systemic ADV infection. He had received reinduction chemotherapy for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia under continuing antifungal therapy for previously diagnosed fungal pneumonia. He complained of fever and right shoulder pain 4 days after completing the reinduction chemotherapy. In spite of appropriate antibiotic and antifungal therapy, pneumonia was aggravated and gross hematuria was accompanied. A multiplex polymerase chain reaction test for respiratory viruses was positive for ADV in a blood sample, and a urine culture was positive for ADV. He received oral ribavirin, intravenous immunoglobulin, and intravenous cidofovir therapy; however, he eventually died. Relapsed leukemia, concurrent fungal pneumonia, and delayed cidofovir administration were considered the cause of the grave outcome in this patient.
CONCLUSION: ADV may cause severe infections not only in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant recipients, but also in patients undergoing chemotherapy for acute leukemia. The risk factors for severe ADV infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy should be determined in the future studies, and early antiviral therapy should be administered to immune compromised patients with systemic ADV infection.

Wu X, Feng X, Zhao X, et al.
Role of Beclin-1-Mediated Autophagy in the Survival of Pediatric Leukemia Cells.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016; 39(5):1827-1836 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Acute and chronic leukemia are severe malignant cancers worldwide, and can occur in pediatric patients. Since bone marrow cell transplantation is seriously limited by the availability of the immune-paired donor sources, the therapy for pediatric leukemia (PL) remains challenging. Autophagy is essential for the regulation of cell survival in the harsh environment. However, the role of autophagy in the survival of PL cells under the oxidative stress, e.g. chemotherapy, remain ill-defined. In the current study, we addressed these questions.
METHODS: We analyzed the effects of oxidative stress on the cell viability of PL cells in vitro, using a CCK-8 assay. We analyzed the effects of oxidative stress on the apoptosis and autophagy of PL cells. We analyzed the levels of Beclin-1 and microRNA-93 (miR-93) in PL cells. Prediction of binding between miR-93 and 3'-UTR of Beclin-1 mRNA was performed by a bioinformatics algorithm and confirmed by a dual luciferase reporter assay. The relationship between levels of miR-93 and patients' survival was analyzed in PL patients.
RESULTS: We found that oxidative stress dose-dependently increased autophagy in PL cells. While low-level oxidative stress did not increase apoptosis, high-level oxidative stress increased apoptosis, seemingly from failure of autophagy-mediated cell survival. High-level oxidative stress appeared to suppress the protein levels of an autophagy protein Beclin-1 in PL cells, possibly through induction of miR-93, which inhibited the translation of Beclin-1 mRNA via 3'-UTR binding.
CONCLUSION: Beclin-1-mediated autophagy plays a key role in the survival of PL cells against oxidative stress. Induction of miR-93 may increase the sensitivity of PL cells to oxidative stress during chemotherapy to improve therapeutic outcome.

Baranger L, Cuccuini W, Lefebvre C, et al.
Cytogenetics in the management of children and adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): an update by the Groupe francophone de cytogénétique hématologique (GFCH).
Ann Biol Clin (Paris). 2016; 74(5):547-560 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cytogenetic analyses (karyotype and, if necessary, appropriate complementary FISH analyses) are mandatory at diagnosis in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) as their results are taken into account in therapeutic protocols due to their diagnostic and prognostic values. In some cases, karyotype can be completed by other techniques (RT-PCR, RQ-PCR, DNA content, SNP-array, MLPA…) that can be equally or more informative than FISH. Here, we have tempted to establish guidelines concerning karyotype and FISH analyses according to the most recent data of the litterature which is reviewed here, completing the 2008 WHO classification with the recent new cytogenomic entities such as Ph-like ALL and indicating possible therapeutic implications.

Kjeldsen E
Characterization of a novel acquired der(1)del(1)(p13p31)t(1;15)(q42;q15) in a high risk t(12;21)-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Gene. 2016; 595(1):39-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
The t(12;21)(p13;q22) with ETV6-RUNX1 fusion occurs in 25% of cases of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL); and is generally associated with favorable prognosis. However, 15-20% of the t(12;21)-positive cases are associated with high-risk disease due to for example slow early responses to therapy. It is well-known that development of overt leukemia in t(12;21)-positive ALL requires secondary chromosomal aberrations although the full spectrum of these cytogenetic alterations is yet unsettled, and also, how they may be associated with disease outcome. This report describes the case of an adolescent male with t(12;21)-positive ALL who displayed a G-banded karyotype initially interpreted as del(1)(p22p13) and del(15)(q15). The patient was treated according to NOPHO standard risk protocol at diagnosis, but had minimal residual disease (MRD) at 6,4% on day 29 as determined by flow cytometric immunophenotyping. Because of MRD level>0.1% he was then assigned as a high risk patient and received intensified chemotherapy accordingly. Further molecular cytogenetic studies and oligo-based aCGH (oaCGH) analysis characterized the acquired complex structural rearrangements on chromosomes 1 and 15, which can be described as der(1)del(1)(p13.1p31.1)t(1;15)(q42;q15) with concurrent deletions at 1q31.2-q31.3, 1q42.12-q43, and 15q15.1-q15.3. The unbalanced complex rearrangements have not been described previously. Extended locus-specific FISH analyses showed that the three deletions were on the same chromosome 1 homologue that was involved in the t(1;15), and that the deletion on chromosome 15 also was on the same chromosome 15 homologue as involved in the t(1;15). Together these findings show the great importance of the combined usage of molecular cytogenetic analyses and oaCGH analysis to enhance characterization of apparently simple G-banded karyotypes, and to provide a more complete spectrum of secondary chromosomal aberrations in high risk t(12;21)-positive BCP-ALLs.

Mazzei MA, Bettini G, Pozzessere C, et al.
A solitary uterine relapse in T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia: CT features and pathologic correlation.
J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2016 Jul-Sep; 30(3):871-875 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-cell ALL) is a rare haematological neoplasia, that affects children and less commonly adults. Female genital tract and particularly uterus involvement in acute ALL is rare. This report presents the CT features of a 64-year-old woman with uterine relapse of T-cell ALL, occurring 11 months after the diagnosis, as a second, unique relapse of disease. The patient was asymptomatic when a CT examination showed a homogenous thickness of the uterine wall in comparison with the previous CT examination. Histology from biopsy specimens, obtained through hysteroscopy, confirmed T-cell ALL localisation (TdT+, CD10+, CD3c+ and CD2+). The uterus could be a site of relapse in patients suffering from ALL. Even though an MRI examination could better demonstrate the disease in cases of suspected female genital tract involvement by ALL, the comparison of differences between a present and a previous CT examination is sufficient to suspect the diagnosis.

Bhandari P, Ahmad F, Mandava S, Das BR
Association of Genetic Variants in ARID5B, IKZF1 and CEBPE with Risk of Childhood de novo B-Lineage Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in India.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016; 17(8):3989-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a heterogeneous genetic disease and its etiology remains poorly understood. Recent genome wide association and replication studies have highlighted specic polymorphisms contributing to childhood ALL predispositions mostly in European populations. It is unclear if these observations generalize to other populations with a lower incidence of ALL. The current case-control study evaluated variants in ARID5B (rs7089424, rs10821936), IKZF1 (rs4132601) and CEBPE (rs2239633) genes, which appear most significantly associated with risk of developing childhood B-lineage ALL.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using TaqMan assays, genotyping was conducted for 162 de novo B-lineage ALL cases and 150 unrelated healthy controls in India. Appropriate statistical methods were applied.
RESULTS: Genotypic and allelic frequencies differed significantly between cases and controls at IKZF1-rs4132601 (p=0.039, p=0.015) and ARID5B-rs10821936 (p=0.028, p=0.026). Both rs10821936 (p=0.019; OR 0.67; 95% CI=0.47-0.94) and rs4132601 (p=0.018; OR 0.67; 95%CI 0.48-0.94) were associated with reduced disease risk. Moreover, gender- analysis revealed male-specific risk associations for rs10821936 (p=0.041 CT+CC) and rs4132601 (p=0.005 G allele). Further, ARID5B-rs7089424 and CEBPE-rs2239633 showed a trend towards decreased disease risk but without significance (p=0.073; p=0.73).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide the rst evidence that SNPs ARID5B- rs10821936 and IKZF1-rs4132601 are associated with decreased B-lineage ALL susceptibility in Indian children. Understanding the effects of these variants in different ethnic groups is crucial as they may confer different risk of ALL within different populations.

Bahari G, Hashemi M, Naderi M, Taheri M
TET2 Promoter DNA Methylation and Expression in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016; 17(8):3959-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
The ten-eleven-translocation-2 (TET2) gene is a novel tumor suppressor gene involved in several hematological malignancies of myeloid and lymphoid origin. Besides loss-of-function mutations and deletions, hypermethylation of the CpG island at the TET2 promoter has been found in human cancers. The TET2 encoded protein regulates DNA methylation. The present study aimed to examine DNA promoter methylation of TET2 in 100 childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases and 120 healthy children in southeast Iran. In addition, mRNA expression levels were assessed in 30 new cases of ALL and 32 controls. Our findings indicated that promoter methylation of TET2 significantly increases the risk of ALL (OR=2.60, 95% CI=1.31-5.12, p=0.0060) in comparison with absent methylation. Furthermore, the TET2 gene was significantly downregulated in childhood ALL compared to healthy children (p=0.0235). The results revealed that hypermethylation and downregulation of TET2 gene may play a role in predisposition to childhood ALL. Further studies with larger sample sizes and different ethnicities are needed to confirm our findings.

Mishra D, Singh S, Narayan G
Curcumin Induces Apoptosis in Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cell Lines Via PARP-1 Cleavage.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016; 17(8):3865-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound isolated from the rhizomes of an herbaceous perennial plant, Curcuma longa, is known to possess anticancerous activity. However, the mechanism of apoptosis induction in cancers differs. In this study, we have (1) investigated the anticancerous activity of curcumin on REH and RS4;11 leukemia cells and (2) studied the chemo-sensitizing potential of curcumin for doxorubicin, a drug presently used for leukemia treatment. It was found that curcumin induced a dose dependent decrease in cell viability because of apoptosis induction as visualized by annexin V-FITC/ PI staining. Curcumin-induced apoptosis of leukemia cells was mediated by PARP-1 cleavage. An increased level of caspase-3, apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), cleaved PARP-1 and decreased level of Bcl2 was observed in leukemia cells after 24h of curcumin treatment. In addition, curcumin at doses lower than the IC50 value significantly enhanced doxorubicin induced cell death. Therefore, we conclude that curcumin induces apoptosis in leukemia cells via PARP-1 mediated caspase-3 dependent pathway and further may act as a potential chemo-sensitizing agent for doxorubicin. Our study highlights the chemo-preventive and chemo-sensitizing role of curcumin.

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