Objective: To investigate the expression of the preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma (PRAME) gene in acute leukemia and its clinical significance.
Methods: The level of expressed PRAME mRNA in bone marrow mononuclear cells from 34 patients with acute leukemia (AL) and in 12 bone marrow samples from healthy volunteers was measured via RT-PCR. Correlation analyses between PRAME gene expression and the clinical characteristics (gender, age, white blood count, immunophenotype of leukemia, percentage of blast cells, and karyotype) of the patients were performed.
Results: The PRAME gene was expressed in 38.2% of all 34 patients, in 40.7% of the patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML, n=27), and in 28.6% of the patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL, n=7), but was not expressed in the healthy volunteers. The difference in the expression levels between AML and ALL patients was statistically significant. The rate of gene expression was 80% in M3, 33.3% in M2, and 28.6% in M5. Gene expression was also found to be correlated with CD15 and CD33 expression and abnormal karyotype, but not with age, gender, white blood count or percentage of blast cells.
Conclusions: The PRAME gene is highly expressed in acute leukemia and could be a useful marker to monitor minimal residual disease. This gene is also a candidate target for the immunotherapy of acute leukemia.
Keywords: acute leukemia; gene; immunotherapy; minimal residual disease; preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma.