Using mathematical models to improve risk-scoring in acute myeloid leukemia

Chaos. 2020 Dec;30(12):123150. doi: 10.1063/5.0023830.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive cancer of the blood forming (hematopoietic) system. Due to the high patient variability of disease dynamics, risk-scoring is an important part of its clinical management. AML is characterized by impaired blood cell formation and the accumulation of so-called leukemic blasts in the bone marrow of patients. Recently, it has been proposed to use counts of blood-producing (hematopoietic) stem cells (HSCs) as a biomarker for patient prognosis. In this work, we use a non-linear mathematical model to provide mechanistic evidence for the suitability of HSC counts as a prognostic marker. Using model analysis and computer simulations, we compare different risk-scores involving HSC quantification. We propose and validate a simple approach to improve risk prediction based on HSC and blast counts measured at the time of diagnosis.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Prognosis