BACKGROUND: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia has a variable clinical course. Genomic aberrations identify prognostic subgroups, pointing towards distinct underlying biological mechanisms that are poorly understood. In particular it remains unclear whether the prognostic subgroups of chronic lymphocytic leukemia are characterized by different levels of leukemogenic proteins.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Expression of 23 proteins involved in apoptosis, proliferation, DNA damage, and signaling or whose genes map to chromosomal regions known to be critical in chronic lymphocytic leukemia was quantified in 185 cytogenetically well characterized cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia using immunoblotting. Cases were categorized hierarchically into deletion(17p), deletion(11q), trisomy 12, deletion(13q) as sole abnormality or normal karyotype. Statistical analysis was performed for expression differences between these subgroups. In addition, the expression levels of CDK4, P27 and P53 were quantified over the clinical course and compared to levels in immunopurified B cells from healthy individuals.
RESULTS: In subgroups with a good prognosis, differential expression was mainly seen for proteins that regulate apoptosis. In contrast, in cytogenetic subgroups with a worse prognosis, differential expression was mostly detected for proteins that control DNA damage and proliferation. Expression levels of CDK4, P27 and P53 were higher compared to those in B cells from healthy individuals and significantly correlated with increasing hierarchical risk. In addition, no significant longitudinal changes of expression levels of CDK4, P27 and P53 could be detected in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Differences in expression levels of apoptosis- and proliferation-controlling proteins define distinct prognostic subgroups of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and uncover a correlation of levels of CDK4, P27 and P53 proteins with higher hierarchical risk.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published