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SOHO 2020: Link Between WNT3 and LEF1 Expression Levels and Survival in CLL?

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Previous studies have reported that the Wnt signaling pathway is aberrantly activated in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and contributes to antiapoptotic and mitogenic characteristics of CLL B cells. In addition, lymphoid enhancer-binding factor-1 (LEF1) may play a role in the Wnt signaling pathway and may regulate genes involved in tumor-apoptosis mechanisms. New findings, presented at the 2020 Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO) Annual Meeting (Abstract CLL-016), reported that WNT3, a Wnt pathway member, and its key mediator LEF1 appeared to be expressed more in cells from patients with CLL than in those from healthy patients. Sameh Shamaa, MD, PhD, of Mansoura University, Egypt, and colleagues concluded that utilizing the Wnt signaling and the expression of WNT3 and LEF1 may present opportunities for effective treatment in patients with CLL.

The research team isolated the total RNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 30 patients with CLL and 19 healthy controls. The investigators quantified the expression levels of WNT3 and LEF1 genes in untreated CLL cells and healthy cells.

There were significantly higher levels of WNT3 and LEF1 expression in CLL cells versus healthy controls (P < .0001). The researchers observed significantly lower expression of LEF1 in patients with deletion 17p, an indicator of more aggressive disease (P = .033). Of note, the expression of WNT3 and LEF1 also seemed to affect overall survival results. Lower levels of WNT3 and LEF1 mRNA expression were associated with shorter overall survival. The median overall survival for patients with low expression was 7 months versus 11 months for patients with high expression (P < .05).

Disclosure: No disclosure information for the study authors was provided.

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