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Quantitative Assessment of Wilms Tumor 1 (WT1) Gene Transcripts in Egyptian Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Patients


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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