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Quantitative Assessment of Wilms Tumor 1 (WT1) Gene Transcripts in Egyptian Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Patients
  1. Hoda Ali Sadek, MD*,
  2. Wafaa Hassan El-Metnawey, MD,
  3. Iman Abdel-Mohsen Shaheen, MD*,
  4. Mervat Mamdouh Korshied, MD*,
  5. Azza Sobieh Mohamed, MD
  1. From the Departments of *Clinical and Chemical Pathology and †Cancer and Radiation Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
  1. Received April 12, 2011, and in revised form June 11, 2011.
  2. Accepted for publication June 11, 2011.
  3. Reprints: Iman Abdel-Mohsen Shaheen, MD, Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, El-Manial, Cairo 11562, Egypt. E-mail: iman.shym{at}
  4. This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sector. This research had been approved by the ethical committee of the Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology.
  5. All authors have no conflict of interest.


Background Accurate assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD) in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients after initial chemotherapy is essential to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic regimens. Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) is a pan-leukemic marker used for identification of the leukemic clone rather than the use of individual specific molecular aberration of ALL.

Methods Using a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, bone marrow samples from 41 newly diagnosed Egyptian ALL patients; 22 adults and 19 children were examined for WT1 expression. After induction therapy, WT1 expression was reestimated in 20 ALL patients.

Results WT1 was overexpressed in adult and pediatric ALL patients (95.4% and 89.4%, respectively). WT1 expression at diagnosis had no statistically significant impact on disease-free survival of patients (P = 0.054). However, WT1 expression increased after induction chemotherapy in the 3 pediatric patients who had relapse.

Conclusions WT1 is a leukemia-associated molecular marker that may be used for the diagnosis and for monitoring clinical progress in ALL; it also can be used as a molecular target for adoptive immunotherapy.

Key Words
  • Wilms tumor gene 1
  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction
  • minimal residual disease

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