Telomere length shortening in chronic myelogenous leukemia is associated with reduced time to accelerated phase.
Boultwood J., Peniket A., Watkins F., Shepherd P., McGale P., Richards S., Fidler C., Littlewood TJ., Wainscoat JS.
Telomere shortening is associated with disease evolution in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). We have examined the relationship between diagnostic telomere length and outcome in 59 patients with CML who entered into the MRC CMLIII Trial by Southern blot hybridization using the (TTAGGG)(4) probe. Age-adjusted telomere repeat array (TRA) reduction was found to significantly correlate with time from diagnosis to acceleration, such that patients with a larger TRA reduction entered the accelerated phase more rapidly (r = -0.50; P =.008). Cox-regression analysis for this group was suggestive of a relationship between a greater TRA-reduction and a shorter time to acceleration (P =.054). Age-adjusted TRA reduction did not significantly affect either the time to blast crisis or overall survival. Our results show that telomere shortening observed at the time of diagnosis in CML significantly influences the time to progress to the accelerated phase. The measurement of diagnostic TRA may prove to be clinically important in the selection of patients at high risk of disease transformation in CML.