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Sal-Like Protein 4 Transcription Factor: A Significant Diagnostic Biomarker Involved in Childhood ALL Resistance and Relapse

Authors Ohadi F, Rahgozar S, Ghodousi ES

Received 29 November 2019

Accepted for publication 8 February 2020

Published 4 March 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 1611—1619


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Eileen O'Reilly

Farzaneh Ohadi, Soheila Rahgozar, Elaheh Sadat Ghodousi

Department of Cell and Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Science and Technology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence: Soheila Rahgozar
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Science and Technology, University of Isfahan, Hezar Jarib Street, Isfahan 81746-73441, Iran
Tel +98 313 793 2455
Fax +98 313 793 2456

Purpose: Sal‐like protein 4 transcription factor (SALL4) is a stem cell transcription factor that plays an essential role in the maintenance and self-renewal of embryonic and hematopoietic stem cells, functioning as an oncogene in several cancers. However, the role of SALL4 in the biological behavior of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and its relationship with multidrug resistance and relapse has remained largely unknown.
Patients and Methods: Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to characterize the expression pattern of SALL4 in the bone marrow samples of 43 patients with Philadelphia negative ALL and 18 children in the non-cancer control group. The presence of minimal residual disease was measured a year after the initial therapy using SSCP (single-strand conformation polymorphism). In addition, the correlation between the expression of SALL4 and ABCA3 in relapsed patients was analyzed statistically.
Results: Results showed an overexpression of SALL4 in de novo patients compared with the control group (P=0.0001, AUC= 0.93), indicating the importance of this gene in the induction of leukemia. A significant increase in the ABCA3 expression levels was revealed in the relapsed patients, in comparison with the drug-sensitive group (P = 0.0005). The leukemogenetic effect of SALL4 can be related to the effect of this gene on the maintenance of pluripotency in cancer stem cells. Results also suggest that the expression of SALL4 can be considered as a diagnostic marker for pediatric ALL. Moreover, SALL4 expression levels in the minimal residual disease positive (mrd+) ALL group was significantly higher than those in the mrd− group (p=0.0001, AUC= 0.92).
Conclusion: These data demonstrate the prognostic impact of SALL4 in childhood ALL. Our findings also indicated a direct correlation between the mRNA expression levels of SALL4 and ABCA3 transporter in the relapsed group of ALL patients (r=0.7). These results describe a possible mechanism by which SALL4 may lead to the development of multidrug resistance.

Keywords: childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, multidrug resistance, SALL4, ABC transporters, relapse, ABCA3

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