© 2020 Ferrata Storti Foundation. Leukemia stem cells (LSC) are more resistant to standard chemotherapy and their persistence during remission can cause relapse, which is still one of the major clinical challenges in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A better understanding of the mutational patterns and the prognostic impact of molecular markers associated with stemness could lead to better clinical management and improve patients’ outcomes. We applied a previously described 17-gene expression score comprising genes differently expressed between LSC and leukemic bulk blasts, for 934 adult patients with de novo AML, and studied associations of the 17-gene LSC score with clinical data and mutation status of 81 genes recurrently mutated in cancer and leukemia. We found that patients with a high 17-gene score were older and had more mutations. The 17-gene score was found to have a prognostic impact in both younger (aged < 60 years) and older (aged ≥60 years) patients with AML. We also analyzed the 17-gene LSC score in the context of the 2017 European LeukemiaNet genetic-risk classification and found that for younger patients the score refined the classification, and identified patients currently classified in the European LeukemiaNet Favorable-risk category who had a worse outcome.
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School of Medicine