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1.  Clinical and molecular characterization of early T-cell precursor leukemia: a high-risk subgroup in adult T-ALL with a high frequency of FLT3 mutations 
Blood Cancer Journal  2012;2(1):e55-.
A subgroup of pediatric acute T-lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) was characterized by a gene expression profile comparable to that of early T-cell precursors (ETPs) with a highly unfavorable outcome. We have investigated clinical and molecular characteristics of the ETP-ALL subgroup in adult T-ALL. As ETP-ALL represents a subgroup of early T-ALL we particularly focused on this cohort and identified 178 adult patients enrolled in the German Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Multicenter studies (05/93–07/03). Of these, 32% (57/178) were classified as ETP-ALL based on their characteristic immunophenotype. The outcome of adults with ETP-ALL was poor with an overall survival of only 35% at 10 years, comparable to the inferior outcome of early T-ALL with 38%. The molecular characterization of adult ETP-ALL revealed distinct alterations with overexpression of stem cell-related genes (BAALC, IGFBP7, MN1, WT1). Interestingly, we found a low rate of NOTCH1 mutations and no FBXW7 mutations in adult ETP-ALL. In contrast, FLT3 mutations, rare in the overall cohort of T-ALL, were very frequent and nearly exclusively found in ETP-ALL characterized by a specific immunophenotype. These molecular characteristics provide biologic insights and implications with respect to innovative treatment strategies (for example, tyrosine kinase inhibitors) for this high-risk subgroup of adult ETP-ALL.
doi:10.1038/bcj.2011.49
PMCID: PMC3270253  PMID: 22829239
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; ETP-ALL; T-ALL; molecular characteristics; FLT3; NOTCH1
2.  Antileukemic activity of the HSP70 inhibitor pifithrin-μ in acute leukemia 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(7):e28-.
Heat shock protein (HSP) 70 is aberrantly expressed in different malignancies and has emerged as a promising new target for anticancer therapy. Here, we analyzed the in vitro antileukemic effects of pifithrin-μ (PFT-μ), an inhibitor of inducible HSP70, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell lines, as well as in primary AML blasts. PFT-μ significantly inhibited cell viability at low micromolar concentrations in all cell lines tested, with IC50 values ranging from 2.5 to 12.7 μ, and was highly active in primary AML blasts with a median IC50 of 8.9 μ (range 5.7–37.2). Importantly, higher IC50 values were seen in normal hematopoietic cells. In AML and ALL, PFT-μ induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in a dose-dependent fashion. PFT-μ also led to an increase of the active form of caspase-3 and reduced the intracellular concentrations of AKT and ERK1/2 in NALM-6 cells. Moreover, PFT-μ enhanced cytotoxicity of cytarabine, 17-(allylamino)-17-desmethoxygeldanamycin, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, and sorafenib in NALM-6, TOM-1 and KG-1a cells. This is the first study demonstrating significant antileukemic effects of the HSP70 inhibitor PFT-μ, alone and in combination with different antineoplastic drugs in both AML and ALL. Our results suggest a potential therapeutic role for PFT-μ in acute leukemias.
doi:10.1038/bcj.2011.28
PMCID: PMC3255249  PMID: 22829184
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; acute myeloid leukemia; HSP70 inhibitor; pifithrin-μ

Results 1-2 (2)