Recurrent expression signatures of cytokines and chemokines are present and are independently prognostic in acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplasia

Steven M. Kornblau, David McCue, Neera Singh, Wenjing Chen, Zeev Estrov and Kevin R. Coombes


The role of circulating cytokines and chemokines (C&Ckine) in activating signal transduction in leukemic cells is incompletely defined. We hypothesized that comprehensive profiling of C&Ckine expression in leukemia would provide greater insight compared with individual analyses. We used multiplex array technology to simultaneously measure the level of 27 C&Ckines in serum from 176 acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and 114 myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients and 19 normal controls. C&Ckine levels in AML and MDS differed significantly from normal controls (5 higher, 13 lower) but were similar to each other for 24 of 27 analytes, with interleukin-8 and interleukin-13 higher in AML and vascular endothelial growth factor A higher in MDS. Levels did not correlate with age, gender, infection, or blood counts; however, 3 correlated with specific cytognetic abnormalities in AML. Individually, few cytokines had any correlation with response or survival. In newly diagnosed AML, 8 C&Ckine signatures, distinct from the normal control signature, were observed. These signatures had prognostic impact, affecting remission, primary resistance, relapse rates, and overall survival, individually (P = .003) and in multivariable analysis (P = .004). These patterns suggest specific therapeutic interventions to investigate in subsets of AML patients. In conclusion, C&Ckine expression in AML and MDS differs from normal, is similar with one another, and forms recurrent patterns of expression with prognostic relevance.

  • Submitted January 12, 2010.
  • Accepted July 18, 2010.
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