Do RARA/PML fusion gene deletions confer resistance to ATRA-based therapy in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia?

Subramaniyam, Shivakumar; Nandula, Subhadra; Nichols, G.; Weiner, Michael A.; Satwani, Prakash; Alobeid, Bachir; Bhagat, Govind; Vundavalli, Murty V.

Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is characterized by the translocation t(15;17)(q22;q21), resulting in the promyelocytic leukemia (PML)-retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA) fusion protein in 95% cases whereas variant translocations involving PLZF (11q23), NPM (5q35), NUMA (11q13) and STAT5b (17q23) account for the rest. Leukemias with PML-RARA translocations respond well to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) or arsenic trioxide (ATO) therapy whereas those with PLZF-RARA fusions respond poorly. Although primary resistance to ATRA is rare, secondary or acquired resistance is frequently observed in patients treated with ATRA alone or in combination with other chemotherapy regimens. However, molecular abnormalities mediating resistance to ATRA therapy are underexplored. Here, we report two cases of APL with RARA-PML deletions on der(17) or der(15), which displayed clinical evidence of primary and secondary resistance to therapy, respectively.


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Pathology and Cell Biology
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November 26, 2019