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Blood. 2006 Jan 1;107(1):205-12. Epub 2005 Sep 6.

Molecular profiling of CD34+ cells identifies low expression of CD7, along with high expression of proteinase 3 or elastase, as predictors of longer survival in patients with CML.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Rd, London W12 0NN, United Kingdom.


Although most patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have the same initial molecular abnormality, the BCR-ABL fusion gene, the duration of chronic phase (CP) varies widely. To identify the possible molecular basis of this heterogeneity, we studied CD34+ cells collected at diagnosis from 68 patients with CML-CP. By using oligonucleotide microarray screening, we performed gene-expression profiling on 2 subsets of patients, one comprising patients with an "aggressive disease" who developed blastic transformation (BT) within 3 years of diagnosis (n = 10) and, at the other extreme, patients with an "indolent disease" whose BT occurred 7 or more years from diagnosis (n = 9). This screening revealed 20 genes differentially expressed in patients with aggressive and indolent disease, which were validated by quantitative reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction (Q-RT/PCR). A multivariate Cox regression model identified the combination of low CD7 expression with high expression of proteinase 3 or elastase as associated with longer survival in the complete cohort of 68 patients. This differential pattern of gene expression probably reflects the intrinsic heterogeneity of the disease; if so, assessing expression levels of selected genes at diagnosis may be valuable in predicting duration of survival in patients treated with imatinib and the newer tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

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