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Blood. 2013 Apr 18;121(16):3172-80. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-07-443762. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Higher bone marrow LGALS3 expression is an independent unfavorable prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

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  • 1Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei 100, Taiwan.


Alterations of galectin-3 expression are often seen in cancers and may contribute to tumorigenesis, cancer progression, and metastasis. The studies concerning clinical implications of galectin-3 expression in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are scarce. We investigated the expression of LGALS3, the gene encoding galectin-3, in the bone marrow (BM) mononuclear cells from an original cohort comprising 280 adults with primary non-acute promyelocytic leukemia. Higher LGALS3 expression was closely associated with older age, French-American-British M4/M5 subtypes, CD14 expression on leukemic cells, and PTPN11 mutation, but negatively correlated with CEBPA mutation and FLT3-ITD. Compared with patients with lower LGALS3 expression, those with higher expression had lower complete remission rates, higher primary refractory rates, and shorter overall survival. This result was validated in an independent validation cohort. A scoring system incorporating higher LGALS3 expression and 8 other risk factors, including age, white blood cell count, cytogenetics, and gene mutations, into survival analysis proved to be very useful to stratify patients with AML into different prognostic groups (P < .001). In conclusion, BM LGALS3 expression may serve as a new biomarker to predict clinical outcome in patients with AML, and galectin-3 may serve as a potential therapeutic target in those patients with higher expression of this protein.

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