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Rebecca Olin, MD, MS


CD33: An Immunotherapeutic Target in Newly Diagnosed AML?

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Yang et al, of the First Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of Science and Technology, China, conducted a study to analyze the CD33 expression level in patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and its correlation with clinical characteristics. The results of this retrospective analysis, which were published in BMC Cancer, seem to support targeting CD33 in combination with chemotherapy.

“The positive results suggested that patients would most likely benefit from CD33-targeted therapy when the patient had a higher count of white blood cells, higher percentage of primitive cells, normal karyotypes, or FLT3 or NPM1 mutations at diagnosis,” the investigators commented. “Taking into account all the available data can help improve the prognosis and survival of patients with AML.”

Between November 2013 and January 2019, a total of 86 patients with de novo AML were enrolled. Samples were collected for analysis at diagnosis, and flow cytometry was performed to evaluate the CD33 expression level in the bone marrow. The patients were grouped based on whether their CD33 expression level was above or below the mean value of 73.4%.

A total of 61.2% of patients had a CD33 expression level above the mean value. More patients with FLT3 (P = .002) and NPM1 (P = .001) mutations presented with a high CD33 expression level. Patients with a high CD33 expression level tended to experience shorter durations of overall survival (P < .001). Based on Cox survival regression analyses, CD33 seemed to be an independent prognostic marker (P = .008). Univariate analysis revealed that the high expression of CD33 may be an unfavorable prognostic factor. The CD33 expression level seemed to be significantly higher in patients with a normal karyotype (P = .027), high white blood cell count (P = .007), and high ratio of primitive cells (P = .005).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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