1Department of Immunology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2Clinic of Hematology, Ali-Asghar Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3Clinic of Hematology and Oncology, Vali-Asr Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Immune and Gene Therapy Lab, Cancer Center Karolinska, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
5Monoclonal Antibody Research Center, Avesina Research Institute, Tehran, Iran
6National Cell Bank of Iran, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran
Background: The Wilm’s tumor gene 1 (WT1) encodes a zinc finger transcription factor that is inactivated in a subset of Wilm’s tumors. It plays a crucial role in growth, proliferation and development of some embryonic and adult organs. WT1 is expressed as a tumor associated antigen (TAA) in various types of solid and hematopoietic malignancies and can be employed as a useful marker for targeted immunotherapy and monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD). Objective: To investigate the profile of WT1 gene expression in Iranian patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia. Methods: RT-PCR method was used to determine the WT1 gene expression in bone marrow (BM) and/or peripheral blood (PB) samples from 11 patients with AML and PB samples of 36 normal subjects. Isolated cells from all patients were immunophenotyped by flow cytometry. Results: The leukemic cells from 10 patients (91%) were found moderately or strongly positive for WT1 expression whereas only 3 out of 36 normal subjects expressed WT1 at very low levels. A highly significant correlation was observed for WT1 expression between paired BM and PB samples of the AML patients. Conclusion: Our results indicate that WT1 is expressed in the majority of Iranian AML patients and may be employed for screening and monitoring of minimal residual disease in these patients.