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Raised blast glutathione levels are associated with an increased risk of relapse in childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Pamela Kearns, Professor Andrew Pearson, Dr Andrew Hall


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A preliminary study has linked raised blast glutathione levels with chemoresistance in acute myeloid and lymphoblastic leukemia in adults and children. In this study, therefore, the relationship between leukemic blast glutathione levels and prognosis in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was investigated. A total of 77 childhood ALL samples were analyzed, 62 at initial presentation and 15 at relapse. A 20-fold interindividual variation in glutathione levels at presentation (median, 6.54 nmol/mg protein; range, 1.37 to 27.9) was demonstrated. The median level in T-lineage ALL was 2.3-fold higher than in B-lineage ALL (Mann-Whitney test, P < .0001), There was a significant correlation between presenting white cell count (WBC) and glutathione level (Spearman rank correlation coefficient, p = 0.45, P = .001), A high DNA index correlated with low glutathione levels (Mann-Whitney test, P = .013), There was no significant relationship between glutathione levels and in vitro drug sensitivity. Patients with glutathione levels above the median had a significantly greater risk of relapse (log-rank test statistic, 5.55; P = .018), and the overall survival rate was significantly reduced (log-rank test statistic, 4.38; P = .04), Multivariate analysis demonstrated that glutathione concentration was of independent prognostic value when assessed in conjunction with age, gender, WBC, and immunophenotype. The association of elevated blast glutathione levels with an increased risk of re lapse suggests that glutathione-depleting agents may be of therapeutic value in patients who present with a high WBC, (C) 2001 by The American Society of Hematology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kearns PR, Pieters R, Rottier MMA, Pearson ADJ, Hall AG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Blood

Year: 2001

Volume: 97

Issue: 2

Pages: 393-398

ISSN (print): 0006-4971

ISSN (electronic): 1528-0020


DOI: 10.1182/blood.V97.2.393

PubMed id: 11154214


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