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Level of minimal residual disease after consolidation therapy predicts outcome in acute myeloid leukemia.

  • Venditti, A
  • Buccisano, F
  • Del Poeta, G
  • Maurillo, L
  • Tamburini, A
  • Cox, C
  • Battaglia, A
  • Catalano, G
  • Del Moro, B
  • Cudillo, L
  • Postorino, M
  • Masi, M
  • Amadori, S
Published Article
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2000
PMID: 11090082


We used flow cytometry to quantify minimal residual disease (MRD) in 56 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) expressing a leukemia-associated phenotype. Thirty-four patients aged 18 to 60 years were entered into the AML-10 protocol (induction, consolidation, and autologous stem-cell transplantation [ASCT]), whereas 22 patients older than 60 years received the AML-13 protocol (induction, consolidation, and consolidation II). After induction, the level of MRD that was best associated with treatment outcome was 4.5 x 10(-4) residual leukemic cells. However, the outcome in patients with at least 4.5 x 10(-4) cells (n = 26) was not significantly different from that in patients with fewer leukemic cells (n = 30); there were 15 (58%) relapses in the first group and 12 (40%) relapses in the second. After consolidation, the most predictive MRD cutoff value was 3.5 x 10(-4) cells: 22 patients had an MRD level of 3.5 x 10(-4) cells or higher and 17 (77%) of these patients had relapse, compared with 5 of 29 patients (17%) with lower MRD levels (P <.001). An MRD level of 3.5 x 10(-4) cells or higher after consolidation was significantly correlated with poor or intermediate-risk cytogenetic findings, a multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) phenotype, short duration of overall survival, and short duration of relapse-free survival (P =.014,.031,.00022, and.00014, respectively). In multivariate analysis, this MRD status was significantly associated with a high frequency of relapse (P <.001) and a short duration of overall (P =.025) and relapse-free survival (P =.007). ASCT did not alter the prognostic effect of high MRD levels after consolidation: the relapse rate after transplantation was 70%. Thus, we found that an MRD level of 3.5 x 10(-4) cells or higher at the end of consolidation strongly predicts relapse and is significantly associated with an MDR1 phenotype and intermediate or unfavorable cytogenetic findings. (Blood. 2000;96:3948-3952)

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