Endogenous serum thrombopoietin (TPO) and various cytokines including erythropoietin (EPO), interleukin (IL)-3, IL-6, IL-11, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and stem cell factor (SCF) levels were measured in five patients with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) during all-trans retinoic acid (RA) treatment. During differentiation-inducing therapy, platelet counts slowly increased and reached a peak between days 29 and 46 (median day 35). Serum TPO levels increased parallel to the increasing platelet counts and reached a maximum level during the first 10-20d of all-trans RA treatment. The circulating TPO levels then decreased in inverse correlation to the platelet counts. These unique changes in serum TPO levels revealed that TPO levels were not regulated by platelet or megakaryocyte mass in patients with APL during differentiation-inducing therapy, and it would appear that TPO levels are directly regulated by all-trans RA during the first 10-20d of treatment. In addition, the change in circulating EPO levels and reticulocyte counts were similar to that of the TPO levels and platelet counts during all-trans RA treatment, suggesting a close relationship between TPO and EPO signalling.
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