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Leukemia. 2013 Feb;27(2):353-61. doi: 10.1038/leu.2012.208. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Altered miRNA and gene expression in acute myeloid leukemia with complex karyotype identify networks of prognostic relevance.

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Department of Internal Medicine III, University Hospital of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


Recently, the p53-miR-34a network has been identified to have an important role in tumorigenesis. As in acute myeloid leukemia with complex karyotype (CK-AML) TP53 alterations are the most common known molecular lesion, we further analyzed the p53-miR-34a axis in a large cohort of CK-AML with known TP53 status (TP53(altered), n=57; TP53(unaltered), n=31; altered indicates loss and/or mutation of TP53). Profiling microRNA (miRNA) expression delineated TP53 alteration-associated miRNA profiles, and identified miR-34a and miR-100 as the most significantly down- and upregulated miRNA, respectively. Moreover, we found a distinct miR-34a expression-linked gene expression profile enriched for genes belonging to p53-associated pathways, and implicated in cell cycle progression or apoptosis. Clinically, low miR-34a expression and TP53 alterations predicted for chemotherapy resistance and inferior outcome. Notably, in TP53(unaltered) CK-AML, high miR-34a expression predicted for inferior overall survival (OS), whereas in TP53(biallelic altered) CK-AML, high miR-34a expression pointed to better OS. Thus, detailed molecular profiling links impaired p53 to decreased miR-34a expression, but also identifies p53-independent miR-34a induction mechanisms as shown in TP53(biallelic altered) cell lines treated with 15-deoxy-Δ(12,14)-prostaglandin. An improved understanding of this mechanism might provide novel therapeutic options to restore miR-34a function and thereby induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in TP53(altered) CK-AML.

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