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posted on 31.05.2021, 05:02 authored by Denggang Fu, Biyu Zhang, Shiyong Wu, Yinghua Zhang, Jingwu Xie, Wangbin Ning, Hua Jiang

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common hematopoietic malignancies that has an unfavorable outcome and a high rate of relapse. Autophagy plays a vital role in the development of and therapeutic responses to leukemia. This study identifies a potential autophagy-related signature to monitor the prognoses of patients of AML. Transcriptomic profiles of AML patients (GSE37642) with the relevant clinical information were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) as the training set while TCGA-AML and GSE12417 were used as validation cohorts. Univariate regression analyses and multivariate stepwise Cox regression analysis were respectively applied to identify the autophagy-related signature. The univariate Cox regression analysis identified 32 autophagy-related genes (ARGs) that were significantly associated with the overall survival (OS) of the patients, and were mainly rich in signaling pathways for autophagy, p53, AMPK, and TNF. A prognostic signature that comprised eight ARGs (BAG3, CALCOCO2, CAMKK2, CANX, DAPK1, P4HB, TSC2, and ULK1) and had good predictive capacity was established by LASSO–Cox stepwise regression analysis. High-risk patients were found to have significantly shorter OS than patients in low-risk group. The signature can be used as an independent prognostic predictor after adjusting for clinicopathological parameters, and was validated on two external AML sets. Differentially expressed genes analyzed in two groups were involved in inflammatory and immune signaling pathways. An analysis of tumor-infiltrating immune cells confirmed that high-risk patients had a strong immunosuppressive microenvironment. Potential druggable OS-related ARGs were then investigated through protein–drug interactions. This study provides a systematic analysis of ARGs and develops an OS-related prognostic predictor for AML patients. Further work is needed to verify its clinical utility and identify the underlying molecular mechanisms in AML.

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