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Dexamethasone in hyperleukocytic acute myeloid leukemia

Abstract : Patients with acute myeloid leukemia and a high white blood cell count are at increased risk of early death and relapse. Because mediators of inflammation contribute to leukostasis and chemoresistance, dexamethasone added to chemotherapy could improve outcomes. This retrospective study evaluated the impact of adding or not adding dexamethasone to chemotherapy in a cohort of 160 patients with at least 50×109 white blood cells. In silico studies, primary samples, leukemic cell lines, and xenograft mouse models were used to explore the antileukemic activity of dexamethasone. There was no difference with respect to induction death rate, response, and infections between the 60 patients in the dexamethasone group and the 100 patients in the no dexamethasone group. Multivariate analysis showed that dexamethasone was significantly associated with improved relapse incidence (adjusted sub-HR: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.14-0.62; P=0.001), disease-free survival (adjusted HR: 0.50; 95% CI: 0.29-0.84; P=0.010), event-free survival (adjusted HR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.21-0.58; P<0.001), and overall survival (adjusted HR: 0.41; 95% CI: 0.22-0.79; P=0.007). In a co-culture system, dexamethasone reduced the frequency of leukemic long-term culture initiating cells by 38% and enhanced the cytotoxicity of doxorubicin and cytarabine. In a patient-derived xenograft model treated with cytarabine, chemoresistant cells were enriched in genes of the inflammatory response modulated by dexamethasone. Dexamethasone also demonstrated antileukemic activity in NPM1-mutated samples. Dexamethasone may improve the outcome of acute myeloid leukemia patients receiving intensive chemotherapy. This effect could be due to the modulation of inflammatory chemoresistance pathways and to a specific activity in acute myeloid leukemia with NPM1 mutation.
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Sarah Bertoli, Muriel Picard, Emilie Berard, Emmanuel Griessinger, Clément Larrue, et al.. Dexamethasone in hyperleukocytic acute myeloid leukemia. Haematologica, Ferrata Storti Foundation, 2018, 103 (6), pp.988-998. ⟨10.3324/haematol.2017.184267⟩. ⟨inserm-02465191⟩

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