Leukemia Patients' Outcomes Predicted With Genetic Profiling

Posted: March 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Editor's Choice Academic Journal Main Category: Lymphoma / Leukemia / Myeloma Also Included In: Cancer / Oncology;Genetics Article Date: 16 Mar 2012 - 9:00 PDT

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Ross Levine, M.D., lead author of the study, member of Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Human Oncology Pathogenesis Program, and a medical oncologist on the Leukemia Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, said:

We also want to use existing therapies more intelligently. It helps a great deal to know which subset of patients will actually benefit from intensive therapies, such as a higher dose of chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant."

Currently, there are just a few known genetic biomarkers that clinicians rely on in order to predict outcome in individuals suffering with leukemia. Although these biomarkers provide helpful information for some patients with AML, for the majority it is hard to predict the chance for a cure.

The researchers used a method that incorporated information from a set of genes. This allowed them to categorize almost two-thirds of patients into clearly defined prognostic groups.

Dr. Levine, explained:

"Our goal was not to ask whether a certain gene or two raised or lowered risk, but to determine whether a combination of characteristics from a set of genes made it possible to precisely stratify patients according to risk."

The team examined blood or bone marrow samples from 502 individuals with AML who took part in a clinical trial conducted by Martin S. Tallman, M.D., Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Leukemia Service. The aim of the trial was to determine whether increasing the standard dose of chemotherapy would improve survival for individuals with AML under the age of 60.

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Leukemia Patients' Outcomes Predicted With Genetic Profiling

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