Costimulatory ligands (COLs) and their receptors (COR) regulate immune reactions and cellular survival and might be relevant in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This study evaluated the clinical relevance of 4-1BBL, glucocorticoid-induced TNFR-related protein (GITR) and ligand (GITRL), CD80, and CD86 in case of expression on AML blasts. 98 patients were evaluated at initial diagnosis. Immunophenotypically evaluated specific fluorescence index (SFI) levels of COR and COL on blasts were correlated with morphological, cytogenetic, and several prognostic parameters. Significantly higher COR expression was seen in monocytic versus non-monocytic AML subtypes; GITR, p=0.05; GITRL, p=0.005; CD86, p=0.001). Cut-off values for two COR and their ligands were evaluated: cases presenting with 4-1BB values above cut-off 1.2 SFI levels correlated (tendentially) significantly with a higher probability for disease-free survival (DFS, p=0.06) and a favorable HR of 0.2; p=0.04 for relapse. HR for death was also significantly lower in this group (0.12; p=0.04). In contrast, a lower probability for DFS and overall survival was seen in cases with 4-1BBL expression above 2.2 SFI levels (p=0.08 and p=0.09). In addition, multivariate analysis showed a significantly higher probability of death in this group (HR 10.3, p=0.04). Expression of CD80 and CD86 did not show significant prognostic relevance. On initial diagnosis, 4-1BB and 4-1BBL qualify as markers for prediction of patients’ course and represent a valuable screening target for patients with AML at initial diagnosis.
- Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
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