Clinical role of microRNAs in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia: miR-155 upregulation independently identifies high-risk patients.

Marcucci G, Maharry KS, Metzeler KH, Volinia S, Wu YZ, Mrózek K, Nicolet D, Kohlschmidt J, Whitman SP, Mendler JH, Schwind S, Becker H, Eisfeld AK, Carroll AJ, Powell BL, Kolitz JE, Garzon R, Caligiuri MA, Stone RM, Bloomfield CD
J Clin Oncol 31 2086-93 06/10/2013


PURPOSE: To evaluate the impact of miR-155 on the outcome of adults with cytogenetically normal (CN) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the context of other clinical and molecular prognosticators and to gain insight into the leukemogenic role of this microRNA.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We evaluated 363 patients with primary CN-AML. miR-155 levels were measured in pretreatment marrow and blood by NanoString nCounter assays that quantified the expression of the encoding gene MIR155HG. All molecular prognosticators were assessed centrally. miR-155-associated gene and microRNA expression profiles were derived using microarrays.

RESULTS: Considering all patients, high miR-155 expression was associated with a lower complete remission (CR) rate (P < .001) and shorter disease-free survival (P = .001) and overall survival (OS; P < .001) after adjusting for age. In multivariable analyses, high miR-155 expression remained an independent predictor for a lower CR rate (P = .007) and shorter OS (P < .001). High miR-155 expressers had approximately 50% reduction in the odds of achieving CR and 60% increase in the risk of death compared with low miR-155 expressers. Although high miR-155 expression was not associated with a distinct microRNA expression profile, it was associated with a gene expression profile enriched for genes involved in cellular mechanisms deregulated in AML (eg, apoptosis, nuclear factor-?B activation, and inflammation), thereby supporting a pivotal and unique role of this microRNA in myeloid leukemogenesis.

CONCLUSION: miR-155 expression levels are associated with clinical outcome independently of other strong clinical and molecular predictors. The availability of emerging compounds with antagonistic activity to microRNAs in the clinic provides the opportunity for future therapeutic targeting of miR-155 in AML.

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