Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2020
In patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), low expression of the forkhead genes circ-Foxo3 and Foxo3 is common. In a study published in BMC Cancer, Zhao-Qun Deng, PhD, of the Affiliated People’s Hospital of Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, China, and colleagues discovered that patients with AML who have a high expression of Foxo3 may have a better prognosis.
The Foxo3 gene belongs to the forkhead family, a class of transcription factors characterized by a forkhead-shaped DNA-binding domain. The Foxo subfamily of genes regulates differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, cell-cycle progression, DNA damage, and tumorigenesis. Foxo3 is a tumor-suppressor gene that may be inactivated in cancer cell lines.
The researchers measured Foxo3 gene levels in 122 newly diagnosed patients with AML and 30 control samples. Participants with AML were followed for a median of 8.5 months.
Dr. Deng and colleagues found that the expression of both the Foxo3 and circ-Foxo3 genes was significantly lower than in the control samples (P = .009 and .04, respectively). In patients with non-M3 subtype AML, a high expression of Foxo3 was associated with a significantly longer overall survival than a low expression of Foxo3 (9 vs. 4 months, P = .002). Patients presenting with a normal karyotype also had longer overall survival with high expression of Foxo3 when compared with those with low expression of this gene (P = .034). A multivariate analysis found that karyotype classification, Foxo3 expression, and age appear to be factors that significantly affected AML prognosis, with higher Foxo3 expression as a protective factor.
Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.