Multidrug resistance and consequent relapse are two major obstacles for treating children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most frequent childhood malignancy. MicroRNAs have potential regulatory roles in response to chemotherapy. The goal of this study was to determine the microRNA that may have effects on the expression level of brain and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BAALC) and to investigate the in vitro and ex vivo association between their expression levels.
In silico tools were utilized to determine a putative miRNA targeting BALLC. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to investigate expression levels of BAALC and its predicted microRNA, miR-326, in bone marrow samples of 30 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 13 controls, in addition to the resistant and parental CCRF-CEM cell lines. To assess the status of response to therapy, minimal residual disease was measured using single-strand conformation polymorphism.
MiR-326 was selected due to the strong possibility of its interaction with BAALC according to the obtained in silico results. Statistical analysis showed a significant downregulation of miR-326 and overexpression of BALLC in drug-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line and patients compared with the parental cell line and drug-sensitive patients, respectively (P = 0.015, 0.005, 0.0484 and 0.0005, respectively). The expression profiles of miR-326 and BAALC were inversely correlated (P = 0.028).
The results introduced the inversely combined expression levels of miR-326 and BAALC as a novel, independent prognostic biomarker for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (P = 0.007). Moreover, bioinformatics data showed a possible regulatory role for miR-326 on BAALC mRNA, which may possibly contribute to the development of drug resistance in patients with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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