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Studies assess genetics, modified treatment to improve outcomes, reduce toxicity
Date:12/8/2012

toxicity from chemotherapy in African-American and Asian children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

AML, the second most common form of leukemia in children, is a blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal white blood cells that crowd out other healthy blood cells over time, leading to infection, anemia, or excessive bleeding. Although 60 to 70 percent of children with AML achieve long-term remission after treatment with multi-agent chemotherapy, the treatment-related mortality (TRM) associated with this intensive treatment regimen remains a major concern for this patient population. Recently, researchers have developed models that use sophisticated genome sequencing techniques to better understand how patients' genetic makeup may influence their risk of TRM.

The WT1 gene, a tumor suppressor that regulates cell growth, can be subject to "loss-of-function" mutations that lead to the development of AML. Unlike genetic mutations, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, naturally occurring variations in the DNA that determine an individual's unique genetic makeup) are not typically thought to play a role in leukemia development or treatment response. However, researchers recently discovered that the presence of SNP rs16754 in the WT1 gene is correlated with improved outcomes in pediatric patients with AML. Based on the fact that the frequency of SNP rs16754 varies by race, researchers assessed the effect of this SNP on outcomes in specific ethnic patient groups.

To determine if the presence of SNP rs16754 affected survival, remission, relapse risk, and TRM in pediatric AML patients of different ethnicities, a team of investigators analyzed the DNA of 492 children with AML enrolled in the CCG-2961 protocol, a Phase III Children's Cancer Group trial. The intensive treatment regimen delivered to patients during CCG-2961 allowed researchers to study the effects of ethnicity on patient outcome, while minimizing non-biologica
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Contact: Andrea Slesinski
aslesinski@hematology.org
614-352-5096
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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