The transcription factor Wilms' tumour gene 1 (WT1) is important as a prognostic marker as well as in the detection and monitoring of minimal residual disease in leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. Evidence has accumulated over the past decade to show that WT1 is a key molecule for tumour proliferation in a large number of human neoplasms most prominent in acute leukaemias, making it a suitable target for therapeutic strategies. Based on animal results, showing safety and efficacy of immunization with WT1 peptides and protein, early clinical trials in leukaemia have recently been initiated. The First International Conference on WT1 in Human Neoplasia was held in Berlin, March 11--12, 2004. This report reviews the current knowledge on the role of WT1 in tumour promotion and as a diagnostic and therapeutic target, and summarizes the data presented and discussed in this meeting.
Leukemia (2005) 19, 1318--1323.