Scientists identify a new target for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)


Acute myeloid leukemia is an aggressive type of blood cancer causing abnormal growth of white blood cells and affecting mostly adults. Scientists from the Cancer science institute(CSI)Singapore and National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered novel interactions between two genes namely, STAT3 and PRL-3 which have the potential to cause cancer and contribute to the development of AML. PRL3 which is implicated in various types of cancer is present at elevated levels in about 50% of AML cases. The research team found that STAT3 which is a transcription factor, binds and promotes over-expression of PRL-3 in cells. Also a decrease in STAT3 levels, showed a corresponding decrease in levels of PRL-3 and diminished the malignant properties of cancerous cells. Thus, targeting this STAT3-PRL-3 interaction could lead to effective therapeutic treatments for AML.

Bone marrow aspirate showing AML Pic courtesy:
Bone marrow aspirate showing AML Pic courtesy:

Assoc Prof Chng said, “Earlier studies on PRL-3 have been conducted in other cancers, but only in recent years has attention been turned to the significance of PRL-3 in blood cancer. Previously, the mechanism by which PRL-3 is regulated in AML had also not been fully elucidated. This study reveals a novel connection between these two important oncogenes for the first time, and also shows that the STAT3-PRL-3 regulatory loop contributes to the pathogenesis of AML.”

Currently , the team is exploring different strategies to target this pathway which could open up new avenues of treatment for AML patients.


Disclaimer: This article does not reflect any personal views of the authors/editors