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Biomarker Predicts the Risk of Development of Fatal Leukemia Among Cancer Survivors

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Highlights
  • Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MNs) occur in about 5% of cancer survivors.
  • Pre-leukemic mutations, called clonal hematopoiesis, may be able to predict whether patients will develop t-MNs.
  • Pre-leukemic mutations were significantly higher in patients who developed t-MNs at 71%.

Biomarker Predicts the Risk of Development of Fatal Leukemia Among Cancer Survivors

Patients who have been treated successfully for breast cancer, colon cancer and other forms of cancers are at a risk of developing a fatal form of leukemia.

The cancer treatments which involve chemotherapy and radiotherapy causes genetic mutation that leads to secondary malignancies known as therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MNs).

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The study was conducted by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the findings were published in The Lancet Oncology. It will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Diego.

Therapy-related Myeloid Neoplasms (t-MNs)

"Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms occur in about 5% of cancer patients who were treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy," said Andy Futreal, Ph.D., chair ad interim of Genomic Medicine.
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T-MNs usually occurs three to eight years following chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy and early detection of the condition is crucial.

In most cases, it is fatal, and currently there is no way to predict who is at risk or prevent it.

"T-MNs are a problem that needs urgent attention," said Koichi Takashi, M.D., assistant professor of Leukemia and Genomic Medicine and a co-author.

Since many cancer patients are now living longer, t-MNs are an increasing concern for many cancer survivors.

Biomarker Presence

Pre-leukemic mutations, called clonal hematopoiesis, may be able to predict whether patients will develop t-MNs.

Clonal hematopoiesis functions as a biomarker for patients who develop t-MNs, a leukemia recognized for its extremely poor prognosis.

Researchers studied 14 patients with t-MNs and found traces of pre-leukemic mutations or clonal hematopoiesis in 10.

To determine if pre-leukemic mutations is a sure predictor of t-MNs, the researchers compared prevalence of pre-leukemic mutations in the 14 patients who had t-MNs with 54 patients who did not develop t-MNs after therapy.

The researchers found that prevalence of pre-leukemic mutations was significantly higher in patients who developed t-MNs at 71% compared to those who did not develop t-MNs, at 26%.

"We also validated these findings in a separate cohort of patients. Based on these findings, we believe pre-leukemic mutations may function as a new biomarker that would predict t-MNs development."said Futreal

"We found genetic mutations that are present in t-MNs leukemia samples actually could be found in blood samples obtained at the time of their original cancer diagnosis," said Takahashi.

Although further studies are needed, the researchers believe that these findings suggest that potential approaches of screening for clonal hematopoiesis in cancer patients may help identify patients at risk of developing t-MNs.



Source: Medindia

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