Overexpression of mucin-4 (MUC4)may indicate poor prognosis among patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to a paper published in the British Journal of Biomedical Science.

MUC4 is overexpressed in some solid cancers and underexpressed in others, and its prognostic significance varies with each cancer type. Whether the MUC4 expression is linked to AML incidence or prognosis has not previously been established.

A team of researchers evaluated bone marrow samples from newly diagnosed adult patients with AML and controls to determine the value of MUC4 as a prognostic marker. MUC4 expression was determined and quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction.

A total of 70 patients with AML (46 men; median age 33 years) and 26 controls (15 men; median age 35 years) were included in the analysis. Of the AML group participants, 31 (44.3%) patients were living and 30 (52.6%) had a persistent remission. Half of the AML group has low MUC4 gene expression, while the other half had high gene expression.

MUC4 expression was not linked to gender, age, white blood cell count, hemoglobin, platelet count, or bone marrow blast. However, low MUC4 expression was associated with positive AML outcomes; 62.9% of patients with low expression vs 25.7% of patients with high MUC4 expression were alive when the sample was taken (P =.002). Moreover, 75% of patients with high expression vs 20.7% of patients with low MUC4 expression had a poor overall outcome.

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“In conclusion, our data offer convincing evidence that bone marrow MUC4 expression is markedly elevated in AML patients and is closely associated with poor clinical outcome,” the authors wrote. “Therefore, bone marrow MUC4 might serve as a novel prognostic biomarker for AML and may provide a new target for therapy.”

Reference

Abdelhady AS, abdel Hamid FF, M Hassan N, Ibrahim DM. Prognostic value of bone marrow MUC4 expression in acute myeloid leukemia [published online April 9, 2020]. Br J Biomed Sci. doi: 10.1080/09674845.2020.1754583