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Blood. 2004 Nov 15;104(10):3058-63. Epub 2004 Jun 24.

Elevated expression of the AF1q gene, an MLL fusion partner, is an independent adverse prognostic factor in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, USA. wwt3@case.edu.


The AF1q gene, a mixed-lineage leukemia fusion partner, is highly expressed in hematopoietic progenitor cells but has low expression in differentiated cells. We determined the expression of the AF1q gene by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in 64 pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients treated on Children's Cancer Group clinical trial CCG-2891 and correlated its expression level to clinical characteristics and outcome. AF1q expression in patients varied from 0- to 154-fold compared with normal marrow, and increasing expression level was associated with worsening survival, with a hazard ratio of 1.02 per fold increase in AF1q expression (P = .032). We divided patients into tertile groups based on AF1q expression level. Patients with high AF1q expression (top tertile) had a higher predominance of French-American-British M1 compared to patients with lower 2 tertiles of AF1q expression (43% vs 9%, P = .003). High AF1q expression was associated with poor survival in univariate and multivariate models. Overall survival at 8 years for patients with the high AF1q expression was 19% versus 50% in patients with low AF1q expression, (P = .01). AF1q expression may correlate with clinical outcome in pediatric AML, although it is not clear if AF1q is simply a marker of a more primitive phenotype or contributes directly to leukemogenesis.

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