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A 4-gene expression score associated with high levels of Wilms Tumor-1 (WT1) expression is an adverse prognostic factor in acute myeloid leukaemia

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journal contribution
posted on 07.09.2020 by Ahmadreza Niavarani, Tobias Herold, Yasmin Reyal, Maria C Sauerland, Thomas Buchner, Wolfgang Hiddemann, Stefan K Bohlander, Peter JM Valk, Dominique Bonnet
Wilms Tumor-1 (WT1) expression level is implicated in the prognosis of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). We hypothesized that a gene expression profile associated with WT1 expression levels might be a good surrogate marker. We identified high WT1 gene sets by comparing the gene expression profiles in the highest and lowest quartiles of WT1 expression in two large AML studies. Two high WT1 gene sets were found to be highly correlated in terms of the altered genes and expression profiles. We identified a 17-probe set signature of the high WT1 set as the optimal prognostic predictor in the first AML set, and showed that it was able to predict prognosis in the second AML series after adjustment for European LeukaemiaNet genetic groups. The gene signature also proved to be of prognostic value in a third AML series of 163 samples assessed by RNA sequencing, demonstrating its cross-platform consistency. This led us to derive a 4-gene expression score, which faithfully predicted adverse outcome. In conclusion, a short gene signature associated with high WT1 expression levels and the resultant 4-gene expression score were found to be predictive of adverse prognosis in AML. This study provides new clues to the molecular pathways underlying high WT1 states in leukaemia.