Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease with various chromosomal aberrations. The karyotype at diagnosis is generally recognized as the single most valuable prognostic factor. However, using conventional cytogenetic techniques, karyotype abnormalities are detected in only half of all AML cases and the other half are commonly described as normal-karyotype AML. Patients with normal-karyotype AML are classified as an intermediate risk group with a 5-year overall survival of between 35% and 45%, but clinical outcome may vary greatly. Also, classical cytogenetic methods are limited in resolution and dependent on highly skilled labor. Therefore, the appropriate choice of additional treatment in patients who attained first remission (chemotherapy versus autologous transplantation versus allogeneic transplantation) is unclear for these patients. Thus, additional markers with prognostic significance are needed to identify clinically relevant subgroups among AML patients with a normal karyotype. Recently, human genome-wide studies gain popularity to identify the genetic basis of complex disorders such as AML. Altered transcript levels in AML genomes are often related to copy number changes, and genome-wide detection of allelic imbalance in AML cells by polymorphic genetic markers has become an important technique to identify genetic events involved in the progression of AML. By using high density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays designed to genotype more than 300K SNPs in the human genome DNA, the resolution of the whole genome scanning technique has increased considerably and allowed accurate and reproducible determination of copy number changes in whole genome of AML. It became possible to distinguish between LOH regions with underlying homozygous deletions and those with copy-neutral events. In the present study, we performed genetic changes in untreated AML with normal cytogenetics with infinium 300K SNP chip. SNP-based mapping array data and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) copy number data correlated well. The most frequently identified alterations are located at 3p, 6q, 8p, 13q, 21q and 22p. LOH is found in these large regions and also in smaller regions throughout the genome with a median size of 1 Mb. Alterations was correlated with response to chemotherapy. Twenty six candidate genes showed significant evidence of linkage in the presence of disequilibrium, and ten of these were expressed in AML patients who failed to attain remission. Three other genes showing statistical evidence were not expressed. Many of the genes reported here have not been previously reported in relation to progression of AML. We show that this panel of markers adds important prognostic information for this largest subgroup in AML.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.