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Blood. 2005 Nov 1;106(9):3175-82. Epub 2005 Jul 12.

Mutations in the ATM gene lead to impaired overall and treatment-free survival that is independent of IGVH mutation status in patients with B-CLL.

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Cancer Research United Kingdom (CRUK) Institute for Cancer Studies, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom.


The ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein is the principal activator of the p53 protein in the response to DNA double-strand breaks. Mutations in the ATM gene have been previously found in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemias (B-CLLs) but their clinical significance is unknown. We analyzed 155 CLL tumors and found 12% with ATM mutations and 4% with TP53 mutations; 2 tumors contained mutations in both genes. Retrospective analysis on selected samples indicated that the ATM mutations were usually present at diagnosis. Compared with patients with wild-type ATM/TP53 genes, patients with ATM mutations had statistically significantly reduced overall and treatment-free survival. Although present in both IGVH mutation subgroups, ATM mutations were associated with unmutated IGVH genes and they provided independent prognostic information on multivariate analysis. Mutations in the ATM gene resulted in impaired in vitro DNA damage responses. Tumors with ATM mutations only partially correlated with tumors with loss of an ATM allele through an 11q deletion and, interestingly, those 11q-deleted tumors with a second wild-type ATM allele had a preserved DNA damage response. The majority of patients with ATM mutations were refractory to DNA damaging chemotherapeutic drugs and as such might benefit from therapies that bypass the ATM/p53 pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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