A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) describes a novel marker that may help doctors choose the least toxic, most effective treatment for many older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). AML occurs mainly in older patients and has a three-year survival rate of just 5 to 15 percent. The researchers investigated patterns of molecules called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), a class of RNA molecules more than 200 nucleotide units long that are involved in regulating genes. The researchers examined the abundance, or expression, of lncRNAs in patients who were 60 years and older and who had cytogenetically normal (CN) AML. The study was published online on December 15, 2014 in PNAS..“We have identified a pattern of 48 lncRNAs that predicted both response to standard chemotherapy and overall survival in older CN-AML patients,” says first author Ramiro Garzon, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine at Ohio State. “Patients in the favorable group had a high probability of responding to standard chemotherapy, while those in the unfavorable group generally responded poorly to the treatment and had worse overall survival,” he says. These findings are important for several reasons, says principal investigator Clara D. Bloomfield (photo), M.D., Distinguished University Professor, Ohio State University Cancer Scholar and holder of the William Greenville Pace III Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.
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