In acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), relapse occurs in about 15 % of cases and is a major cause for death. Molecular markers identifying patients at high risk for relapse are not well established. High expression of the transcription factor Ets-related gene (ERG) is associated with inferior overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival in different types of hematologic malignancies. There are no data available about the impact of ERG expression in APL. ERG expression levels were analyzed in bone marrow samples of 86 APL patients at initial diagnosis. High ERG expression was significantly associated with an inferior OS in patients who had reached first complete remission. It was also significantly correlated with inferior relapse-free survival (RFS) and time to relapse (i.e., relapse-free interval, RFI). In multivariate analysis, high ERG expression had an independent negative impact on RFS and RFI. High ERG expression was significantly associated with inferior OS, RFS, and RFI. Moreover, in multivariate analysis, it maintained its value as an independent negative prognostic factor with regard to RFS and RFI. Therefore, ERG expression might serve as a molecular marker for risk stratification in APL and might identify patients who could benefit from intensified treatment regimens.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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