GAS6 expression identifies high-risk adult AML patients: potential implications for therapy.

Whitman SP, Kohlschmidt J, Maharry K, Volinia S, Mrózek K, Nicolet D, Schwind S, Becker H, Metzeler KH, Mendler JH, Eisfeld AK, Carroll AJ, Powell BL, Carter TH, Baer MR, Kolitz JE, Park IK, Stone RM, Caligiuri MA, Marcucci G, Bloomfield CD
Leukemia 28 1252-8 06/01/2014


Emerging data demonstrate important roles for the TYRO3/AXL/MERTK receptor tyrosine kinase (TAM RTK) family in diverse cancers. We investigated the prognostic relevance of GAS6 expression, encoding the common TAM RTK ligand, in 270 adults (n=71 aged<60 years; n=199 aged ⩾60 years) with de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML). Patients expressing GAS6 (GAS6+), especially those aged ⩾60 years, more often failed to achieve a complete remission (CR). In all patients, GAS6+ patients had shorter disease-free (DFS) and overall (OS) survival than patients without GAS6 expression (GAS6-). After adjusting for other prognostic markers, GAS6+ predicted CR failure (P=0.02), shorter DFS (P=0.004) and OS (P=0.04). To gain further biological insights, we derived a GAS6-associated gene-expression signature (P<0.001) that in GAS6+ patients included overexpressed BAALC and MN1, known to confer adverse prognosis in CN-AML, and overexpressed CXCL12, encoding stromal cell-derived factor, and its receptor genes, chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4) and CXCR7. This study reports for the first time that GAS6 expression is an adverse prognostic marker in CN-AML. Although GAS6 decoy receptors are not yet available in the clinic for GAS6+ CN-AML therapy, potential alternative therapies targeting GAS6+-associated pathways, for example, CXCR4 antagonists, may be considered for GAS6+ patients to sensitize them to chemotherapy.

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