Outcome for children with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who relapse is poor. To gain insight into the mechanisms of relapse, we analyzed gene-expression profiles in 35 matched diagnosis/relapse pairs as well as 60 uniformly treated children at relapse using the Affymetrix platform. Matched-pair analyses revealed significant differences in the expression of genes involved in cell-cycle regulation, DNA repair, and apoptosis between diagnostic and early-relapse samples. Many of these pathways have been implicated in tumorigenesis previously and are attractive targets for intervention strategies. In contrast, no common pattern of changes was observed among late-relapse pairs. Early-relapse samples were more likely to be similar to their respective diagnostic sample while we noted greater divergence in gene-expression patterns among late-relapse pairs. Comparison of expression profiles of early- versus late-relapse samples indicated that early-relapse clones were characterized by overexpression of biologic pathways associated with cell-cycle regulation. These results suggest that early-relapse results from the emergence of a related clone, characterized by the up-regulation of genes mediating cell proliferation. In contrast, late relapse appears to be mediated by diverse pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology