The RUNX1 Research Program is a research and advocacy venture committed to funding world-class, innovative and cross-disciplinary cancer research to find a cure for those with the germline RUNX1 mutation, a familial platelet disorder with a predisposition to leukemia. The program also aims to support, inform, educate and connect patients and healthcare providers in the RUNX1 community.Frequently Asked Questions
What is RUNX1 FPD/AML?
RUNX1 FPD/AML is a hereditary blood disorder which predisposes an individual to acquiring leukemia in his or her lifetime. The RUNX1 gene is important for the formation and function of blood cells. Individuals with FPD/AML have only one copy of the RUNX1 gene (instead of the normal two), and as a result certain blood cell types are adversely affected. Patients typically present as having low platelets (thrombocytopenia), and the platelets they have are functionally impaired, causing bleeding problems such as nose bleeds, excessive bleeding during minor surgery, and easy bruising. The disorder carries a 50 percent lifetime risk of progressing to leukemia through the acquisition of additional mutations in other genes. According to a 2014 review of 11 FPD/AML papers, "Distinct FPD/AML families have varying risks of progression to myeloid malignancy (range, 11%-100%; median, 44%).” Godley, Lucy A., “Inherited Predisposition to Acute Myeloid Leukemia”, http://www.slaop.org/pdf/291LeucemiaInheritedPredispositiontoAcuteMyeloidLeukemia.pdf As an ‘autosomal dominant’ disorder, each individual with FPD/AML carries a 50 percent chance of passing the mutation to each child.
Though considered a rare disorder, the frequency of FPD/AML has been historically underestimated. Incidence has increased in recent years with awareness as well as cost efficiencies and access to genetic testing. Individuals with bleeding problems, or with a family history of leukemia, are advised ask their clinicians about genetic testing for inherited leukemia predisposition genes.