Background: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the commonest childhood cancer.
Transferrin receptor 1 (CD71) is a trans-membrane glycoprotein which has important role in iron homeostasis
by acting as a gatekeeper regulating iron uptake from transferrin and is an attractive target
for anti-cancer agents, particularly those that aim to induce lethal iron deprivation in malignant hematopoietic
Aim of the Work: To assess the prognostic value of Transferrin receptor -1 (CD71) in children with
newly diagnosed ALL.
Patients and Methods: This study was carried out on 75 patients with newly diagnosed ALL. Transferrin
receptor-1 expression was analyzed on the bone marrow blasts by flow cytometry at time of diagnosis
with positive CD71 expression is considered when ≥20% of malignant cells express this marker
while negative expression is considered when <20% of malignant cells express this marker.
Results: Transferrin receptor-1 positive expression was detected in 45 patients (60%) while negative
expression was found in the remaining 30 patients (40%). CD71 expression was significantly higher on
T- ALL patients compared with B-ALL patients. Positive CD71 expression at diagnosis was significantly
associated with bad clinical and laboratory prognostic factors as lymphadenopathy, higher white
blood cell count, higher hemoglobin level, lower platelets count, and higher blast cells in peripheral
blood and bone marrow and higher lactate dehydrogenase levels’. There were significant differences in
disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) between positive and negative CD71 expression
groups with significantly shorter DFS and OS in positive CD71 expression group compared to negative
Conclusion and Recommendations: ‘Positive Transferrin receptor -1 (CD71) expression in patients
with ALL is adverse prognostic factor and should be taken in consideration in designing future therapeutic
strategies based on patient- specific risk factors’.