Background: To investigate the expression of the fragile histidine triad (FHIT) gene in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and its clinical significance. Materials and
Methods: The level of expressed FHIT mRNA in peripheral blood from 50 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and in 50 peripheral blood samples from healthy volunteers was measured via RT-PCR. Correlation analyses between FHIT gene expression and clinical characteristics (gender, age, white blood count, immunophenotype of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and percentage of blast cells) of the patients were performed.
Results: The FHIT gene was expressed at 2.49±7.37 of ALL patients against 14.4±17.9 in the healthy volunteers. The difference in the expression levels between ALL patients and healthy volunteers was statistically significant. The rate of gene expression did not significantly vary with immunophenotype subtypes. Gene expression was also found to be correlated with increase of total leukocyte and decrease in platelets, but not with age, gender, immunophenotyping or percentage of blast cells.
Conclusions: FHIT gene expression is low in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and could be a useful marker to monitor minimal residual disease. This gene is also a candidate target for the immunotherapy of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.