Research Papers:

Serum neuron-specific enolase levels are upregulated in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and are predictive of prognosis

Cheng-cheng Liu, Hua Wang, Jing-hua Wang, Liang Wang, Qi-rong Geng, Xiao-qin Chen and Yue Lu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:55181-55190. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10473

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Cheng-cheng Liu1,2,3,*, Hua Wang1,2,3,*, Jing-hua Wang1,2,3,*, Liang Wang1,2,3, Qi-rong Geng1,2,3, Xiao-qin Chen1,2,3, Yue Lu1,2,3

1Department of Hematologic Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510060, P.R. China

2State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510060, P.R. China

3Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510060, P.R. China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yue Lu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: acute lymphoblastic leukemia, neuron-specific enolase, prognostic factor, biomarker, targeted therapy

Received: February 25, 2016     Accepted: June 13, 2016     Published: July 07, 2016


We explored the relationship between neuron-specific enolase (NSE) levels and the clinical features of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Seventy ALL patients and forty-two healthy controls were enrolled in this study, and their serum NSE levels were measured using an electrochemiluminescence assay. The serum NSE concentration was higher in ALL patients than in healthy controls. In ALL patients, the mean serum NSE level declined after complete remission (CR) but increased with relapse. In addition, the mean serum NSE level was lower in the CR group than in the non-CR group. High NSE levels were associated with poorer progression-free and overall survival than low NSE levels. Serum NSE levels closely correlated with several clinical features, including the immunophenotype, risk stratification and serum lactate dehydrogenase levels. Multivariate analysis revealed that high NSE expression was an independent prognostic factor in adult ALL patients. NSE mRNA levels were also higher in ALL cell lines and bone marrow mononuclear cells from ALL patients than in control cells. These results suggested that NSE could be a clinical prognostic factor and a potential therapeutic target in ALL.

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