Prognostic implications of genetic aberrations in acute myelogenous leukemia with normal cytogenetics

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Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a genetically heterogeneous disease in which somatic mutations, that disturb cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation, accumulate in hematopoietic progenitor cells. Cytogenetic findings, at diagnosis, have been proven to be one of the most important prognostic indicators in AML. About half of the patients with AML are found to have “normal” cytogenetic analysis by standard culture techniques. These patients are considered as an intermediate risk group. Cytogenetically normal AML (CN-AML) is the largest cytogenetic risk group, and the variation in clinical outcome of patients in this group is greater than in any other cytogenetic group. Besides mutation testing, age and presenting white blood cell count are important predictors of overall survival, suggesting that other factors independent of cytogenetic abnormalities, contribute to the outcome of patients with AML. The expanding knowledge at the genetic and molecular levels is helping define several subgroups of patients with CN-AML with variable prognosis. In this review, we describe the clinical and prognostic characteristics of CN-AML patients as a group, as well as the various molecular and genetic aberrations detected in these patients and their clinical and prognostic implications.

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