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High BAALC gene expression has been associated with poor prognosis in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukaemia (CN-AML) and has been suggested as a suitable marker for assessing minimal residual disease (MRD). The purpose of this study was to substantiate these findings by the analysis of a large data set of 632 diagnostic and follow-up samples in 142 intensively treated CN-AML patients. Paired diagnostic/relapse samples of 35 patients revealed stable high BAALC expression in 89%, irrespective of a high proportion of clonal evolution found in 49% of these cases. High BAALC expression, both directly after induction chemotherapy and within 3-6 months after induction chemotherapy, correlated significantly with shorter event-free survival and overall survival. Moreover, 8 of 10 patients displaying high BAALC expression levels after completion of induction therapy as well as 5 of 5 patients exhibiting high BAALC expression levels within 3-6 months after induction chemotherapy experienced relapse with a median of 197 and 101 days, respectively, from sampling to relapse. Thus, BAALC expression-based MRD detection during therapy may be considered a strategy to identify patients at high risk of relapse. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Simone Weber, Torsten Haferlach, Tamara Alpermann, Karolína Perglerová, Susanne Schnittger, Claudia Haferlach, Wolfgang Kern. Feasibility of BAALC gene expression for detection of minimal residual disease and risk stratification in normal karyotype acute myeloid leukaemia. British journal of haematology. 2016 Dec;175(5):904-916

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PMID: 27662611

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