Cellular expression of antiapoptotic BCL-2 oncoprotein in newly diagnosed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A children's cancer group study
Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic
Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
We found a marked variation in BCL-2 oncoprotein expression levels of primary leukemic cells from 338 children with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). None of the high-risk features predictive of poor treatment outcome in childhood ALL, such as older age, high white blood cell (WBC) count, organomegaly, T-lineage immunophenotype, ability of leukemic cells to cause overt leukemia in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice, presence of MLL-AF4, and BCR-ABL fusion transcripts were associated with high levels of BCL-2 expression. Overall, high BCL-2 levels were not associated with slow early response, failure to achieve complete remission, or poor event-free survival. High BCL-2 levels in primary leukemic cells predicted slow early response only in T-lineage ALL patients, which comprised approximately 15% of the total patient population. Even for this small subset of patients, the level of BCL-2 expression did not have a significant impact on the short-term event-free survival.