|P-glycoprotein 170 expression and function as an adverse independent prognostic factor in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia|
Authors: F. Casale, V. D'Angelo, R. Addeo, M. Caraglia, S. Crisci, R. Rondelli, M. T. Di Tullio, P. Indolfi
Pediatric Oncology Service, Pediatric Department, II University of Naples, 80138 Napoli, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Little is known about the prognostic role of multidrug resistance (MDR) in newly diagnosed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). P-glycoprotein 170 (MDR1), a cellular drug efflux pump, is thought to be one of the major causes of MDR. The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate in 85 children with ALL the impact of the MDR1 product of the mdr-1 gene on the achievement of complete remission (CR) and outcome. MDR1 protein expression was performed by immunocytochemistry (ICC), and flow cytometry (FC). MDR1 functional activity was performed by a rhodamine (Rhd)-123 efflux test with or without verapamil. All patients enrolled in our study were treated with AIEOP ALL 91-95 protocols. At diagnosis, 40 patients (47%) expressed MDR1 protein at significant levels, and 45 (53%) were MDR1 negative. Forty-three of the latter patients were also negative for MDR1 function, while 34/40 (85%) patients MDR1 positive preserved the function. Rhd-123 efflux was inhibited by the MDR modulator verapamil in 12/40 (30%) patients. After induction treatment, CR was achieved in 77/85 children (90.6%). All patients who did not achieve CR were MDR1 positive. Twenty-nine patients relapsed, 17 (58.6%) of whom were MDR1 positive. The 10-year overall survival (OS) rate, and disease-free survival (DFS) for MDR1 negative patients compared to MDR1 positive patients were 75.7% versus 54.8%, and 67.5% versus 46%, respectively. The 10-year event-free survival (EFS) rate was significantly higher (67.5% versus 36.8%) in the MDR1 negative group compared with the MDR1 positive population (p=0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that only EFS was independent of age, WBC count, immunophenotype, FAB subtype and prednisone response (p=0.019). Our results, derived from a monocentric study, demonstrate that MDR1 expression in childhood ALL is an independent adverse prognostic factor on outcome, and could be a useful biological marker of response in these patients. Moreover, MDR1 function was also a predictor of response, but only in univariate analysis.