Long non-coding ribonucleic acids (RNAs) are a novel class of RNA molecules, which are increasingly recognized as important molecular players in solid and hematologic malignancies. Herein, researchers from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center investigated whether long non-coding RNA expression is associated with clinical and molecular features, as well as outcome of younger adults (aged <60 years) with de novo cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia. Whole transcriptome profiling was performed in a training (n=263) and a validation set (n=114). Using the training set, the researchers identified 24 long non-coding RNAs associated with event-free survival. Linear combination of the weighted expression values of these transcripts yielded a prognostic score. In the validation set, patients with high scores had shorter disease-free (P<0.001), overall (P=0.002) and event-free survival (P<0.001) than patients with low scores. In multivariable analyses, long non-coding RNA score status was an independent prognostic marker for disease-free (P=0.01) and event-free survival (P=0.002), and showed a trend for overall survival (P=0.06). Among multiple molecular alterations tested, which are prognostic in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia, only double CEBPA mutations, NPM1 mutations and FLT3-ITD associated with distinct long non-coding RNA signatures. Correlation of the long non-coding RNA scores with messenger RNA and microRNA expression identified enrichment of genes involved in lymphocyte/leukocyte activation, inflammation and apoptosis in patients with high scores.
Overview of the study design
The researchers conclude that long non-coding RNA profiling provides meaningful prognostic information in younger adults with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia. In addition, expression of prognostic long non-coding RNAs associates with oncogenic molecular pathways in this disease.