Gene Expression Profiling of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Children with Very Early Relapse

Arch Med Res. 2016 Nov;47(8):644-655. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2016.12.005.


Background and aims: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood cancer worldwide. Mexican patients have high mortality rates, low frequency of good prognosis biomarkers (i.e., ETV6-RUNX1) and a high proportion is classified at the time of diagnosis with a high risk to relapse according to clinical features. In addition, very early relapses are more frequently observed than in other populations. The aim of the study was to identify new potential biomarkers associated with very early relapse in Mexican ALL children through transcriptome analysis.

Methods: Microarray gene expression profiling on bone marrow samples of 54 pediatric ALL patients, collected at time of diagnosis and/or at relapse, was performed. Eleven patients presented relapse within the first 18 months after diagnosis. Affymetrix Human Transcriptome Array 2.0 (HTA 2.0) was used to perform gene expression analysis. Annotation and functional enrichment analyses were carried out using Gene Ontology, KEGG pathway analysis and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis tools.

Results: BLVRB, ZCCHC7, PAX5, EBF1, TMOD1 and BLNK were differentially expressed (fold-change >2.0 and p value <0.01) between relapsed and non-relapsed patients. Functional analysis of abnormally expressed genes revealed their important role in cellular processes related to the development of hematological diseases, cancer, cell death and survival and in cell-to-cell signaling interaction.

Conclusions: Our data support previous findings showing the relevance of PAX5, EBF1 and ZCCHC7 as potential biomarkers to identify a subgroup of ALL children in high risk to relapse.

Keywords: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Biomarkers; Children; Gene expression profiling; Very early relapse.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / diagnosis
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence


  • Biomarkers, Tumor