Extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2) is frequently found constitutively activated (p-ERK1/2) in hematopoietic diseases, suggesting a role in leukemogenesis. The aim of this study was to assess the expression and clinical role of p-ERK1/2 in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In 131 primary samples from adult de novo ALL patients enrolled in the Gruppo Italiano per le Malattie Ematologiche dell'Adulto (GIMEMA) Leucemia Acute Linfoide (LAL) 2000 protocol and evaluated by flow cytometry, constitutive ERK1/2 activation was found in 34.5% of cases; these results were significantly associated with higher white blood cell (WBC) values (P = .013). In a multivariate analysis, p-ERK1/2 expression was an independent predictor of complete remission achievement (P = .027). Effective approaches toward MEK inhibition need to be explored in order to evaluate whether this may represent a new therapeutic strategy for adult ALL patients.
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