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Blood. 1997 Aug 15;90(4):1643-8.

Expression of the neural cell adhesion molecule CD56 is associated with short remission duration and survival in acute myeloid leukemia with t(8;21)(q22;q22).

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  • 1Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.


Although acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with t(8;21) (q22;q22) is associated with a high complete remission (CR) rate and prolonged disease-free survival, treatment outcome is not universally favorable. Identifying factors that predict for treatment outcome might allow therapy to be optimized based on risk. AML with t(8;21) has a distinctive immunophenotype, characterized by expression of the myeloid and stem cell antigens CD13, CD15, CD34, and HLADr, and frequent expression of the B-cell antigen CD19 and the neural cell adhesion molecule CD56, a natural killer cell/stem cell antigen. Because CD56 expression has been associated with both extramedullary leukemia and multidrug resistance, we sought to correlate CD56 expression with treatment outcome in AML with t(8;21). Pretreatment leukemia cells from 29 adult de novo AML patients with t(8;21) treated on Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) protocols were immunophenotyped by multiparameter flow cytometry as part of a prospective immunophenotyping study of adult AML (CALGB 8361). CD56 was expressed in 16 cases (55%). There was no correlation between CD56 expression and age, sex, white blood cell count, granulocyte count, the presence of additional cytogenetic abnormalities, or the presence of extramedullary disease at diagnosis. The CR rate to standard-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin was similar for cases with and without CD56 expression (88% v 92%; P = 1.0). Post-CR therapy included at least one course of high-dose cytarabine in 24 of 26 patients who achieved CR; numbers of courses administered were similar in cases with and without CD56 expression. Although post-CR therapy did not differ, CR duration was significantly shorter in cases with CD56 expression compared with those without (median, 8.7 months v not reached; P = .01), as was survival (median, 16.5 months v not reached; P = .008). We conclude that CD56 expression in AML with t(8;21) is associated with significantly shorter CR duration and survival. Our results suggest that CD56 expression may be useful in stratifying therapy for this subtype of AML.

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