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Doctors Can Predict Leukemia Recurrence

Armen Hareyan's picture

Two newly conducted studies can help doctors to diagnose how aggressive acute leukemia is and how big the risk for recurrence is. This will help doctors to choose the best blood cancer treatment for each patient individually.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is blood cancer affecting immune cells in blood. Scientists predict that 13000 new cases and 8200 death cases will occur in US this year.

Patients with less aggressive form of cancer benefit from standard chemotherapy treatment and have low risk for recurrence. While patients with aggressive form of the disease need a bon morrow stem cell transplant, coming from relatives mainly. Transplant surgery is a difficult one, because doctors firstly need to destroy patient's own bone morrow and then transplant donor's stem cell. The procedure needs a long hospitalization of a patient, and some individual bodies even reject transplants.

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Blood cancer treatment difficulties urge the importance of determining leukemia form for every patient before starting an individual treatment. Half of patients report chromosome changes because of the disease, and this is helping doctors determine how aggressive the disease is, but those who don't have chromosome changes are very difficult to determine the disease form. These two studies come to help doctors estimate the level of leukemia aggressiveness.

The first study was conducted by researchers at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center and was examining 64 AML patients aged under 60. The study was successful at predicting the risk for leukemia recurrence, judging by type of microRNAs. MicroRNAs are genetic material strains that are aimed at regulating genetic activity. Researchers found 7 microRNAs responsible for immune response and helping predict leukemia recurrence.

The second study was conducted by researchers at University Hospital of Ulm and was examining 872 people aged under 60. The study found three genetic mutations - NPM1, FLT3, and CEBPA - that can predict if an individual patient will benefit from bone morrow stem cell transplant or no.

These two studies come to ease doctors' decisions on which blood cancer treatment should be given to a particular patient, judging by leukemia type and patient's body specific reaction on different treatments. The studies can also help scientists uncover innovative, more efficient ways for leukemia treatment.