Significance of FHIT expression in chronic myelogenous leukemia

Hagop M. Kantarjian*, Moshe Talpaz, Susan O'Brien, Taghi Manshouri, Jorge Cortes, Francis Giles, Mary Beth Rios, Carlo M. Croce, Maher Albitar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Loss or reduced expression of the fragile histidine triad (FHIT) gene, a tumor suppressor gene localized at chromosome 3P14.2, is common in several solid and hematological cancers and has been associated with tumor progression and worse prognosis. The role of the FHIT gene in the pathogenesis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) or its progression from a chronic phase to the accelerated and blastic phases is not known. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether Fhit protein expression is altered in CML, and whether it plays any role in CML progression, disease responsiveness to therapy, or prognosis. A total of 195 patients with Philadelphia chromosome- positive CML were evaluated, including 129 patients in early chronic phase (time from diagnosis to study, 12 months or less), 30 patients in late chronic phase, and 36 patients in the accelerated and blastic phases. The levels of cellular Fhit protein expression were determined using Western blot analysis and solid-phase RIA and compared to the levels in 31 normal marrows. The median Fhit expression in normal marrows was assigned a value of 1, and the levels in CML samples were normalized to the median of the normal control. Fhit levels in CML samples were evaluated in relation to CML phase and patient characteristics and prognosis in the early chronic phase. The median Fhit value in CML samples was 0.89 (range, 0.34-2.62). Eight of the 195 (4%) CML samples showed Fhit levels <0.5 and lacked detectable Fhit protein by Western blot. There was no difference in the levels of Fhit expression by different CML phases. In early chronic phase, reduced Fhit expression tended to be associated with leukocytosis (P = 0.04) and lower platelet counts (P = 0.01), but not with poorer-risk groups. No differences in response to IFN-α therapy or in survival were observed by different Fhit levels. Lack of Fhit protein expression was detected in 4% of CML cases, and reduced expression occurred in a subpopulation of patients. However, reduced Fhit expression is not associated with progression, response to therapy, or prognosis in CML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4059-4064
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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