The study compared AML patients whose cancer cells showed chromosome changes known as the 8;21 translocation with patients whose cancer cells showed chromosome damage known as inversion 16.
Currently, AML patients with either the 8;21 translocation or the inversion 16 abnormalities receive the same therapy. They also tend to experience complete remission and have a better overall survival than do patients with most other subtypes of AML.
But this study found that when the two groups of patients are compared with each other and when ethnicity, sex and other chromosome changes are considered patients with the 8;21 abnormality fare significantly worse than do patients with inversion 16 when they receive similar therapy.
Furthermore, the researchers were surprised to find that nonwhite AML patients with the 8;21 translocation were almost six times less likely to achieve complete remission following the initial therapy than were whites.
The findings were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. They come from a Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) study initiated by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSU CCC-James).
The study is part of a larger CALGB cytogenetic trial chaired by Clara D. Bloomfield, professor of internal medicine and the William G. Pace III Professor in Cancer Research, OSU Cancer Scholar and senior adviser to the OSU Cancer Program.