Globally, 15-20% of all children diagnosed with leukemia suffer from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rapidly progressive, clinically and biologically heterogeneous disease leading to the impaired differentiation of myeloid blast cells. Although 80% of patients achieve complete remission after induction chemotherapy, many relapse, negatively affecting overall out comes. The mechanisms underlying relapse have not been fully elucidated. This review aims to provide an overview of genetic aberrations involved in relapse of disease. A literature review on molecular mechanisms implicated in pediatric AML relapse spanning from 2003 to 2017 was conducted. PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar were interrogated using relevant search terms. Of note, we examined a total of final 10 research papers from four large study groups that have utilized whole genome sequencing and molecular targeting of trio or paired samples of initial diagnosis, remission, and relapse. Their findings reveal that the genomic landscape of pediatric AML varies from diagnosis to relapse in different populations. Pediatric AML relapse is a systemic evolutionary illness accompanied by synchronized mutational hits impairing differentiation function. The irregular proliferative function is a consequence of mutations in signal transduction genes such as FLT3, RAS, PTPN11, and c-KIT and genes that code for transcription factors such as CEBPα, WT1, SATB1, GFI1, KLF2, and TBP are associated with relapse of disease. Identification of molecular markers unique to different stages of the disease in distinct populations can provide valuable information about disease prognosis and management.
- gene expression