High cortactin and HS1 expression is linked with inferior prognosis and survival among adult patients with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), according to research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.

Although ALL is more common among children than adults, it has been associated with poor outcomes in adult patients. Novel treatments have improved prognosis and survival in the past several decades, but many patients relapse.

Previous research has demonstrated that cortactin, a sarcoma kinase, confers a worse disease prognosis among patients with solid tumors and some hematologic malignancies. Hematopoietic cell-specific lyn substrate-1 (HS1), a cortactin homologue, is expressed only in hematopoietic cells, and shares several functions. For this study, researchers evaluated whether cortactin and HS1 expression are predictive of prognosis and survival among patients with B-ALL.

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Overall, data from 74 patients with B-ALL and 76 controls without B-ALL were included. At diagnosis, 37 patients had low cortactin levels, and 37 had high cortactin levels; in these 2 groups, the mean patient ages were 38.7 and 38.1 years, respectively, 16 (43.2%) and 11 (29.7%) were male, and 6 (16.2%) and 14 (37.8%) had Philadelphia chromosome–positive disease.

At diagnosis, cortactin levels and HS1 expression were higher among patients with B-ALL compared with both the healthy control group and in the same patient group post-induction (both P <.001).

Patients with high cortactin levels (odds ratio [OR], 1.43; P =.005) and high HS1 expression (OR, 1.08; P =.003) had a worse risk of relapse and a higher risk of death (OR, 1.09; P =.041 and OR, 1.07; P =.005, respectively).

In the overall B-ALL patient group, high cortactin levels and high HS1 expression together predicted increased risk of relapse and shorter overall survival.

“In conclusion, high cortactin and/or HS1 expression is associated with a worse outcome for B-ALL patients,” the authors wrote. “These findings suggest that determining cortactin levels at B-ALL diagnosis could be used in risk stratification and optimizing their treatments.”


Aref S, Al Agdar M, Ramez A, Abou Zeid T, Sabry M, Khaled N. Evaluation of cortactin and HS1 genes expression: new players in adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2021;22(3):767-774. doi:10.31557/APJCP.2021.22.3.767