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Hubmann, Max, Köhnke, Thomas, Hoster, Eva, Schneider, Stephanie, Dufour, Annika, Zellmeier, Evelyn, Fiegl, Michael, Braess, Jan, Bohlander, Stefan K., Subklewe, Marion, Sauerland, Maria-Cristina, Berdel, Wolfgang E., Büchner, Thomas, Woermann, Bernhard, Hiddemann, Wolfgang and Spiekermann, Karsten (2014): Molecular response assessment by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction after induction therapy in NPM1-mutated patients identifies those at high risk of relapse. In: Haematologica, Vol. 99, No. 8: pp. 1317-1325 [PDF, 838kB]


Monitoring minimal residual disease is an important way to identify patients with acute myeloid leukemia at high risk of relapse. In this study we investigated the prognostic potential of minimal residual disease monitoring by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis of NPM1 mutations in patients treated in the AMLCG 1999, 2004 and 2008 trials. Minimal residual disease was monitored - in aplasia, after induction therapy, after consolidation therapy, and during follow-up - in 588 samples from 158 patients positive for NPM1 mutations A, B and D (with a sensitivity of 10(-6)). One hundred and twenty-seven patients (80.4%) achieved complete remission after induction therapy and, of these, 56 patients (44.1%) relapsed. At each checkpoint, minimal residual disease cut-offs were calculated. After induction therapy a cut-off NPM1 mutation ratio of 0.01 was associated with a high hazard ratio of 4.26 and the highest sensitivity of 76% for the prediction of relapse. This was reflected in a cumulative incidence of relapse after 2 years of 77.8% for patients with ratios above the cut-off versus 26.4% for those with ratios below the cut-off. In the favorable subgroup according to European LeukemiaNet, the cut-off after induction therapy also separated the cohort into two prognostic groups with a cumulative incidence of relapse of 76% versus 6% after 2 years. Our data demonstrate that in addition to pre-therapeutic factors, the course of minimal residual disease in an individual is an important prognostic factor and could be included in clinical trials for the guidance of post-remission therapy.

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