Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of hematological malignancies with individual cases showing wide variations in response to treatment. Pre-treatment karyotype analysis may be used to stratify cases into one of three prognostic classes: favorable, intermediate or adverse. Favorable karyotypes, t(15;17), t(8;21) and inv(16), are associated with the presence PML-RARα, AML1-ETO and CBFβ-MYH11 gene rearrangements respectively. The adverse cytogenetic abnormalities are monosomy 5, monosomy 7, deletion of chromosome 5q, abnormalities of chromosome 3q and a complex karyotype. All remaining abnormalities are associated with an intermediate prognosis. Approximately 5–10% of cases cannot be stratified due to failure of cytogenetic analysis. Cryptic gene rearrangements, which cannot be detected by karyotyping, may lead to assignment of cases to incorrect prognostic classes. These problems may result in sub-optimal or over-treatment of patients. Using an artificial neural network-based analysis of HOX gene expression profiles generated by real-time quantitative PCR (RT-QPCR) we have previously shown that the favorable and intermediate cytogenetic classes are characterised by low HOXA5 (Ct value > 29.5) and high HOXB3 (Ct value < 25) expression respectively (
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