High bax expression is a good prognostic indicator in acute myeloid leukaemia

Y L Ong, M F McMullin, K E Bailie, T R Lappin, F G Jones, A E Irvine

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Most cytotoxic drugs kill cells by instigating the process of apoptosis and it has been suggested that apoptotic markers may provide an indication of tumour chemosensitivity. The aim of this study was to determine if such a relationship exists in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The levels of spontaneous apoptosis, bcl-2 and bax were evaluated in 56 newly diagnosed AML patients to determine if they correlated with a response to cytotoxic therapy. Spontaneous apoptosis was lower, but bcl-2, bax and the bcl-2/bax ratio were higher in AML compared with normal individuals. AML patients with high bax expression at diagnosis had significantly better prognosis for disease-free survival, event-free survival and overall survival (P = 0.016). In the standard risk group, high bax expression was in keeping with significantly improved survival. Multivariate analysis revealed bax to be an independent predictor of survival. There was a significant reduction in bcl-2 and bax expression when AML patients entered complete remission and also in relapsed AML patients who entered a second remission. This study suggests that bax is a useful prognostic indicator in AML and may assist with therapeutic decision-making for patients in the standard risk category.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000


  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Apoptosis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Treatment Outcome
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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