Ex-vivo sensitivity profiling to guide clinical decision making in acute myeloid leukemia: A pilot study

Ronan T Swords, Diana Azzam, Hassan Al-Ali, Ines Lohse, Claude Henry Volmar, Justin Watts, Aymee Perez, Ana Rodriguez, Fernando Vargas, Roy Elias, Francisco Vega, Arthur Z Zelent, Shaun P Brothers, Taher Abbasi, Jonathan Trent, Shaukat Rangwala, Yehuda Deutsch, Eibhlin Conneally, Leylah Drusbosky, Christopher R. CogleClaes R Wahlestedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


A precision medicine approach is appealing for use in AML due to ease of access to tumor samples and the significant variability in the patients’ response to treatment. Attempts to establish a precision medicine platform for AML, however, have been unsuccessful, at least in part due to the use of small compound panels and having relatively slow turn over rates, which restricts the scope of treatment and delays its onset. For this pilot study, we evaluated a cohort of 12 patients with refractory AML using an ex vivo drug sensitivity testing (DST) platform. Purified AML blasts were screened with a panel of 215 FDA-approved compounds and treatment response was evaluated after 72 h of exposure. Drug sensitivity scoring was reported to the treating physician, and patients were then treated with either DST- or non-DST guided therapy. We observed survival benefit of DST-guided therapy as compared to the survival of patients treated according to physician recommendation. Three out of four DST-treated patients displayed treatment response, while all of the non-DST-guided patients progressed during treatment. DST rapidly and effectively provides personalized treatment recommendations for patients with refractory AML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalLeukemia Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Ex-vivo sensitivity screening
  • Precision medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Swords, R. T., Azzam, D., Al-Ali, H., Lohse, I., Volmar, C. H., Watts, J., Perez, A., Rodriguez, A., Vargas, F., Elias, R., Vega, F., Zelent, A. Z., Brothers, S. P., Abbasi, T., Trent, J., Rangwala, S., Deutsch, Y., Conneally, E., Drusbosky, L., ... Wahlestedt, C. R. (2018). Ex-vivo sensitivity profiling to guide clinical decision making in acute myeloid leukemia: A pilot study. Leukemia Research, 64, 34-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2017.11.008