Recently it was shown that, analogous to normal hematopoietic cells, the level of CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR-4) expression on acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells correlates with stromal cell derived factor-1 alpha (SDF-1)-induced chemotaxis. As we speculated that an anomalous organ distribution of AML cells could affect cell survival and thus result in an altered fraction surviving chemotherapy, we examined a possible correlation between patient prognosis and CXCR-4 expression in AML patients. We found that patients with a high CXCR-4 expression in the CD34+ subset had a significantly reduced survival and a higher probability of relapse, resulting in a median relapse-free survival (RFS) of only 8.3 months. CXCR-4 expression was significantly higher in fetal liver tyrosine kinase-3 (Flt3)/internal tandem duplication (ITD) AML than in Flt3/wild-type (wt) AML. Covariate analysis indicated that the prognostic significance of Flt3/ITDs with respect to RFS was no more apparent when analyzed in conjunction with the expression of CXCR-4 in the CD34+ subset, suggesting that the poor prognosis of Flt3/ITD AML might be subordinate to the increased CXCR-4 expression. Using a granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor (G-CSF-R)-expressing 32D cell line, we observed that SDF-1/CXCR-4 interaction is required for the survival of myeloid differentiating cells, and it also induces a block in G-CSF-induced myeloid differentiation. These data suggest that the SDF-1/CXCR-4 axis may influence therapy responsiveness and defines unfavorable prognosis in AML.,
Department of Hematology

Rombouts, E., Pavic, B., Löwenberg, B., & Ploemacher, R. (2004). Relation between CXCR-4 expression, Flt3 mutations, and unfavorable prognosis of adult acute myeloid leukemia. Blood, 104(2), 550–557. doi:10.1182/blood-2004-02-0566