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PURPOSE: We recently demonstrated the biologic importance of the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) subunit Rel A in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and hypothesized that Rel A DNA binding would have prognostic significance in this disease. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Rel A DNA binding was quantified in nuclear extracts derived from 131 unselected CLL patient samples using a quantitative DNA-binding enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based method. We then investigated the ability of Rel A to predict for the requirement for treatment and survival and compared our findings with other established prognostic markers. RESULTS: Rel A DNA binding was strongly associated with advanced Binet stage (P < .0001) but did not correlate with immunoglobulin V(H) (IgV(H)) mutation status (P = .25), CD38 expression (P = .87), or zeta-chain-associated protein kinase 70 (ZAP-70) expression (P = .55). It was predictive of time to first treatment (P = .02) and time to subsequent treatment (P = .0001). In addition, Rel A was the most predictive marker of survival both from date of diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR], 9.1; P = .01) and date of entry into the study (HR, 3.9; P = .05) and retained prognostic significance in multivariate analysis for both time to first treatment and overall survival in the presence of Binet stage, IgV(H) mutation status, CD38, and ZAP-70. CONCLUSION: Rel A is an independent prognostic marker of survival in CLL and seems to have the unique capacity to predict the duration of response to therapy. Prospective assessment of Rel A as a marker of clinical outcome and as a therapeutic target are now warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Oncol

Publication Date





763 - 769


ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biomarkers, DNA-Binding Proteins, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Humans, Immunoglobulin Variable Region, Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Transcription Factor RelA, ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase