Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 140, Issue 8, pp 1323–1330 | Cite as

The clinical relevance and prognostic significance of adenosine triphosphate ATP-binding cassette (ABCB5) and multidrug resistance (MDR1) genes expression in acute leukemia: an Egyptian study

  • Hala M. Farawela
  • Mervat M. KhorshiedEmail author
  • Neemat M. Kassem
  • Heba A. Kassem
  • Hamdy M. Zawam
Original Article – Cancer Research



Multidrug resistance (MDR1) represents a major obstacle in the chemotherapeutic treatment of acute leukemia (AL). Adenosine triphosphate ATP-binding cassette (ABCB5) and MDR1 genes are integral membrane proteins belonging to ATP-binding cassette transporters superfamily.


The present work aimed to investigate the impact of ABCB5 and MDR1 genes expression on the response to chemotherapy in a cohort of Egyptian AL patients. The study included 90 patients: 53 AML cases and 37 ALL cases in addition to 20 healthy volunteers as controls.


Quantitative assessment of MDR1 and ABCB5 genes expression was performed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Additional prognostic molecular markers were determined as internal tandem duplications of the FLT3 gene (FLT3-ITD) and nucleophosmin gene mutation (NPM1) for AML cases, and mbcr-abl fusion transcript for B-ALL cases.


In AML patients, ABCB5 and MDR1 expression levels did not differ significantly between de novo and relapsed cases and did not correlate with the overall survival or disease-free survival. AML patients were stratified according to the studied genetic markers, and complete remission rate was found to be more prominent in patients having low expression of MDR1 and ABCB5 genes together with mutated NPM1 gene. In ALL patients, ABCB5 gene expression level was significantly higher in relapsed cases and MDR1 gene expression was significantly higher in patients with resistant disease.


In conclusion, the results obtained by the current study provide additional evidence of the role played by these genes as predictive factors for resistance of leukemic cells to chemotherapy and hence treatment outcome.


MDR1 ABCB5 Gene expression AML ALL Chemotherapy 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hala M. Farawela
    • 1
  • Mervat M. Khorshied
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Neemat M. Kassem
    • 1
  • Heba A. Kassem
    • 1
  • Hamdy M. Zawam
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Faculty of MedicineCairo UniversityCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Oncology, Faculty of MedicineCairo UniversityCairoEgypt
  3. 3.Kasr Al Ainy Teaching HospitalCairoEgypt

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