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Study Identifies Specific Circular RNA Potentially Implicated in Diagnosis of Pediatric AML

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Monday, January 10, 2022

The presence of the circular RNA circRNF220 was found to be specific for the diagnosis and prediction of relapse of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to a study published in Molecular Cancer. This finding was further substantiated when small interfering RNAs targeted at circRNF220 led to decreased growth and survival of AML cells, commented Hua Jiang, MD, of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangdong, China, and colleagues.  

From 2015 to 2020, peripheral blood or bone marrow samples were collected from 149 pediatric patients with AML. A circular RNA microarray was used to assess expression patterns in these patient samples. Moreover, biotin RNA pulldown assays were used to assess the relationship between circRNF220 and microRNA-30a.

Analysis of pediatric bone marrow and peripheral blood revealed an abundance of circRNF220. The authors noted that circRNF220 played a critical role in distinguishing AML from other hematologic malignancies, including acute lymphocytic leukemia, with high specificity and sensitivity. Elevated levels of circRNF220 seemed to be associated with an unfavorable prognosis for relapse in this patient population.

Furthermore, the authors reported that when circRNF220 was knocked down, the proliferation of AML cells was inhibited and apoptosis was stimulated. It was also revealed that circRNF220 may play a role in the sequestration of microRNA-30a and inhibition of its activity. This, in turn, upregulates MYSM1 and IER2, two targets of circRNF220  thought to promote AML relapse.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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