Background: Wnt signaling is a critical pathway for the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Some studies have evaluated the expression or methylation of secreted frizzled-related protein 2 (SFRP2) as an antagonist and beta-catenin (β-catenin) as a critical mediator of this pathway. Since we found no comprehensive study on these genes in Iran, we aimed to investigate the status of both SFRP2 expression and methylation, and also β-catenin expression, in conjunction with clinical characteristics, in Iranian patients with de novo non-M3 AML.
Methods: The methylation and expression of SFRP2 were determined in 188 patients with primary non-M3 AML and 60 healthy controls, who were referred to Shariati Hospital, Tehran, Iran, between January 2017 and February 2019. The methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time quantitative PCR were used, respectively. The expression of β-catenin was explored via real-time quantitative PCR. Statistical analysis was performed using the Mann–Whitney U test (SPSS software, version 23). A P value of less than 0.05 (2-tailed) was considered significant.
Results: SFRP2 mRNA showed a significant decline in the AML group compared with the controls (p <0.001). The hypermethylation of the SFRP2 promoter occurred in 25.5% (48/188) of the cases. SFRP2 expression exhibited a negative correlation with the white blood cell count (P=0.003). The expression of β-catenin increased significantly in the patients in comparison with the controls (p <0001), and a significant difference was observed between the patients, who achieved complete remission and those, who did not (P=0.046).
Conclusion: The findings of this study showed that alterations in SFRP2 and β-catenin expression can be used as a potential biomarker for differentiating patients with new non-M3 AML from the controls. Additionally, an evaluation of β-catenin expression may be valuable in predicting complete remission in patients with non-M3 AML.