About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Shedding Light on the Mutational Landscape of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on September 22, 2016 at 11:13 PM
Font : A-A+

 Shedding Light on the Mutational Landscape of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children. Genomic alterations in pediatric relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia that cause both therapy resistance and improved clinical response to multi-agent chemotherapy treatment have been identified by a group of researchers from Columbia University, Rutgers University, and institutions in Europe and Japan.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey researcher Hossein Khiabanian, an assistant professor of pathology, was involved in the work in the Rabadan and Ferrando laboratories at Columbia University. He is co-lead author of the study published in the current online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He shares more about the work:


Q: Why is this topic important to explore?
A: Treating patients with a combination of multiple drugs has allowed 95% of pediatric cases to go into remission, and 80% of those can remain leukemia free. However, patients who experience disease relapse or those who do not respond to drug therapy have very poor prognoses. Although some genetic markers are found to be associated with ALL relapse, not enough is known about the overall genetic makeup of relapsed ALL; nor are the causes of drug resistance understood.

Q: How did you approach this work and what did you discover?
A: In order to explore common mutations that occur in relapsed ALL, we utilized state-of-the-art sequencing technologies to examine the DNA alteration in 55 pediatric relapsed ALL cases. Through these advanced experimental and computational investigative methods we were able to identify specific genomic changes and validate our findings in 279 additional samples. We found that ALL relapse emerges from small, often clinically undetectable populations of cancer cells that are only partially genetically similar to the dominant leukemic population at diagnosis. We also identified numerous new mutations in genes involved in drug resistance that are specific to relapsed ALL. In particular, we showed that mutations in the RAS family of genes cause resistance to methotrexate, a drug commonly used in combination with others to treat ALL; however, these same mutations improved cancer response to another ALL treatment drug, vincristine.

Q: What is the implication of these findings?
A: These results highlight how drug therapy can impact the evolution of leukemia, and show a previously unrecognized role of RAS mutations as causes of both sensitivity and resistance to chemotherapy. Early identification of these mutations, as well as other genetic alterations that have been shown to induce therapeutic resistance in leukemia patients is pertinent in guiding precision medicine treatment strategies and prevention of relapsed disease; a goal that is now being perused in my lab at Rutgers.

Source: Newswise


Recommended Reading

Latest Cancer News

Exploring the Role of Neutrophils in Immunotherapy
Neutrophils, the blood cell types are mobilized to fight cancer if they are appropriately engaged.
How Can Mouse Avatars Help Treat Multiple Myeloma?
The mouse avatars created help study and develop personalized treatments against blood cancer - myeloma.
Why Is Time of Day Important in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment?
Chronotherapy (the sleep-wake cycle) is observed as a valuable alternative treatment in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
How Do Neutrophils Impact Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Resistance?
A nanoengineering platform targets neutrophils, the white blood cells without killing pancreatic cancer cells paving the way for effective treatments.
Could TKI Cancer Drugs Lead to Inflammatory Side Effects?
The mechanism by which the kinases cause inflammation has been discovered by scientists.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Shedding Light on the Mutational Landscape of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests