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Hematol Oncol. 2017 Sep;35(3):350-356. doi: 10.1002/hon.2279. Epub 2016 Feb 8.

Acute myeloid leukaemia: expression of MYC protein and its association with cytogenetic risk profile and overall survival.

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Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary and Calgary Laboratory Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Hematological Malignancies, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a clinically aggressive disease with marked genetic heterogeneity. Cytogenetic abnormalities provide the basis for risk stratification into clinically favourable, intermediate, and unfavourable groups. There are additional genetic mutations, which further influence the prognosis of patients with AML. Most of these result in molecular aberrations whose downstream target is MYC. It is therefore logical to study the relationship between MYC protein expression and cytogenetic risk groups. We studied MYC expression by immunohistochemistry in a large cohort (n = 199) of AML patients and correlated these results with cytogenetic risk profile and overall survival (OS). We illustrated differential expression of MYC protein across various cytogenetic risk groups (p = 0.03). Highest expression of MYC was noted in AML patients with favourable cytogenetic risk group. In univariate analysis, MYC expression showed significant negative influence of OS in favourable and intermediate cytogenetic risk group (p = 0.001). Interestingly, MYC expression had a protective effect in the unfavourable cytogenetic risk group. In multivariate analysis, while age and cytogenetic risk group were significant factors influencing survival, MYC expression by immunohistochemistry methods also showed some marginal impact (p = 0.069). In conclusion, we have identified differential expression of MYC protein in relation to cytogenetic risk groups in AML patients and documented its possible impact on OS in favourable and intermediate cytogenetic risk groups. These preliminary observations mandate additional studies to further investigate the routine clinical use of MYC protein expression in AML risk stratification.


MYC; acute myeloid leukaemia; cytogenetics

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