Gene expression signature predicts relapse in adult patients with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia

Blood Adv. 2021 Mar 9;5(5):1474-1482. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003727.


Although ∼80% of adult patients with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) achieve a complete remission (CR), more than half of them relapse. Better identification of patients who are likely to relapse can help to inform clinical decisions. We performed RNA sequencing on pretreatment samples from 268 adults with de novo CN-AML who were younger than 60 years of age and achieved a CR after induction treatment with standard "7+3" chemotherapy. After filtering for genes whose expressions were associated with gene mutations known to impact outcome (ie, CEBPA, NPM1, and FLT3-internal tandem duplication [FLT3-ITD]), we identified a 10-gene signature that was strongly predictive of patient relapse (area under the receiver operating characteristics curve [AUC], 0.81). The signature consisted of 7 coding genes (GAS6, PSD3, PLCB4, DEXI, JMY, NRP1, C10orf55) and 3 long noncoding RNAs. In multivariable analysis, the 10-gene signature was strongly associated with relapse (P < .001), after adjustment for the FLT3-ITD, CEBPA, and NPM1 mutational status. Validation of the expression signature in an independent patient set from The Cancer Genome Atlas showed the signature's strong predictive value, with AUC = 0.78. Implementation of the 10-gene signature into clinical prognostic stratification could be useful for identifying patients who are likely to relapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nucleophosmin
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Transcriptome*


  • NPM1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Nucleophosmin