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Prognostic impact and mutational landscape of a leukemia stem cell score in adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia

Research Scholar

Marius Bill, physician, Department of Hematology and Oncology, University of Leipzig (Germany).
Clara D. Bloomfield, faculty mentor

Background

  • Hometown: Leipzig, Germany
  • Degrees received: Medical Degree, University of Leipzig, Germany; PhD in organic and medicinal chemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany.

What is the issue or problem addresses in your research?

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a malignant disease characterized by the uncontrolled proliferation of immature cells. The subpopulation of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) initiates disease and causes relapse. Relapse is a major clinical challenge that leads to poor prognosis of adult patients with up to 60% of younger (<60 years) and 85% of older patients failing to attain long-term survival. A better understanding of LSC biology and their prognostic impact is critical to improve patients' outcomes.

What methodology did you use in your research?

We calculated the 17-gene LSC score in 934 AML patients based on whole transcriptome expression data. Additionally, the mutational status of 80 cancer- and leukemia-associated genes (Eisfeld et al. Leukemia 2017;31:2211) was determined using targeted next-generation sequencing. All patients were treated on frontline Cancer and Leukemia Group B/Alliance protocols.

What are the purpose/rationale and implications of your research?

A better understanding of LSCs is important to improve AML patient outcome. We detected distinct mutational differences between patients with a high and low LSC score. Moreover, this score, derived from the expression of stemness-associated genes, has a prognostic impact.