Researchers identify genetic variation behind acute myeloid leukemia treatment success

February 26, 2013, University of Minnesota

Researchers from the College of Pharmacy and Medical School working within the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, have partnered to identify genetic variations that may help signal which acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients will benefit or not benefit from one of the newest antileukemic agents.

Their study is published today in .

In the latest study, U of M researchers evaluated how inherited in CD33, a protein that naturally occurs in most , could affect clinical outcomes of patients treated with an existing chemotherapy drug, gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO), an immuno-conjugate between anti-CD33 antibody and a cytotoxin known as calicheamicin, which binds to CD33 on leukemic cells. As GO is internalized by leukemia cells, the cytotoxin is released, causing DNA damage and generating leukemic cell death.

In recent clinical trials GO has been shown to induce remission and improve survival in subset of patients with AML, however there is wide inter-patient variation in response.

Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., and colleagues identified and evaluated three genetic variations of CD33 in two groups of patients with pediatric AML – one group that received the drug GO, and one group that did not. They found that specific in CD33 that significantly affected the clinical outcome of AML patients who received GO based chemotherapy.

"Understanding how genetics play a role in how drugs work is extremely useful, particularly for a drug like GO which has shown a very heterogeneous response in AML patients," said Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., the study's lead author and a researcher who holds appointments in both the College of Pharmacy and the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. "Our latest findings lead us to believe that genetic variation in CD33 influences how ' leukemic cell responds to GO."

AML is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and is the second most common form of leukemia in children. Though the most common type of treatment for AML is chemotherapy, Lamba says the disease remains hard to treat and newer, more effective therapies are needed.

"The overall goal of our study was to use genetic data to predict beneficial or adverse response to a specific drug, thus opening up opportunities to use this information for drug optimization to achieve maximum therapeutic efficacy and minimum toxicity. Our hope is that our research could serve as a marker of prognostic significance for clinicians to select the therapy that has the greatest odds of being effective for individual patients based on their CD33 genotype."

Explore further: Two-faced leukemia?

Related Stories

Two-faced leukemia?

December 12, 2011
One kind of leukemia sometimes masquerades as another, according to a study published online this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Drug makes leukemia more vulnerable to chemo

March 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a new drug makes chemotherapy more effective in treating acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Instead ...

Genotype predicts treatment related mortality (TRM) in African-American and Asian pediatric AML patients

December 9, 2012
New research suggests that the presence of a specific genetic marker, known as WT1 SNP rs16754, may be associated with reduced toxicity from chemotherapy in African-American and Asian children with acute myeloid leukemia ...

Researcher pieces together AML prognosis puzzle

October 15, 2012
When patients suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) express high levels of the gene, MN1, an already aggressive leukemia is accelerated and shortens survival time. While that's a known fact, the mechanisms involved ...

Identifying acute myeloid leukemia gene mutations may indicate risk, best treatment

March 23, 2012
An international group of researchers, including those from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., have published a paper in the March 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reviewing the results of a study that analyzed ...

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.