Red blood cell distribution width (RDW) is a quantitative measure of the variability in size of circulating erythrocytes. It was recently reported that RDW is a prognostic factor for infection diseases, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, as well as some neoplasms. Moreover, RDW is remarkably strong predictor of longevity, including all causes of death, for adults aged 45 years and older. To explain this occurrence it was proposed that persistent IGFs/mTOR signaling is one of the factors that play a role in affecting the RDW and mortality.The above observations induced us to analyze the prognostic role of RDW in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) being the most frequent type of adult leukemia in Western countries. The obtained results have shown that RDW may be considered as a potential CLL prognostic marker. Elevated RDW level at the moment of diagnosis was associated with advanced disease and presence of other poor prognostic factors. It is also connected with overall survival indicating shorter time in patients with elevated RDW. It is possible that the presently observed correlation between mortality and RDW of the CLL patients is affected by their metabolic (IGF-1/mTOR driven)- rather than chronological- aging. The patients with high level of RDW are expected to have an increased persistent level of IGF-1/mTOR signaling. Within the framework of personalized therapy, these CLL patients therefore would be expected to be more sensitive to the treatment with mTOR inhibitors.
Podhorecka, M., Halicka, D., Szymczyk, A., Macheta, A., Chocholska, S., Hus, M., & Darzynkiewicz, Z. (2016). Assessment of red blood cell distribution width as a prognostic marker in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Oncotarget, 7(22), 32846-32853. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.9055