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Leukemia. 2004 Nov;18(11):1816-23.

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene 677C>T and 1298A>C polymorphisms are associated with differential apoptosis of leukemic B cells in vitro and disease progression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Hematology, Medical Faculty, University of Essen, Germany. <>


Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) regulates the metabolism of folate and methionine, essential components of DNA synthesis and methylation. We investigated whether the two genetic MTHFR polymorphisms (677C>T and 1298A>C) are associated with an increased risk for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or may predict disease progression. Moreover, we measured potential genotype effects on apoptosis of B-CLL cells.Allele frequencies and genotype distributions for both polymorphisms were not significantly different in 111 patients vs 92 healthy controls. While progression-free survival (PFS) was not significantly different in individuals with CLL including all stages, in patients with Binet stage A PFS was significantly longer in patients displaying the MTHFR 677CC (P=0.043) and the MTHFR 1298A/C or CC genotypes (P=0.019). In a multivariate analysis, MTHFR haplotype (677CC plus 1298CC or A/C) was the best independent prognostic factor for PFS compared with other known prognostic factors. Spontaneous apoptosis of B-CLL cells in vitro was significantly increased in the favorable risk group with MTHFR 677CC and MTHFR 1298AC, which may constitute the cellular basis of the observed associations. While MTHFR polymorphisms do not affect the risk for B-CLL, they may be independent prognostic markers that influence the PFS in patients with early-stage B-CLL.

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