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Prognostic and therapeutic significance of leukemia subtypes and minimal residual disease measurements in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia treated with contemporary risk-directed trial: a cohort study

Background Genomic analyses to identify leukemia subtypes and refinement of minimal residual disease (MRD) determination are two recent advances that would have substantial impact on the management of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, the combined application of these two approaches to determine the prognostic and therapeutic significance of MRD measurement and full spectrum of leukemia subtypes in the context of contemporary risk-directed therapy has not been studied comprehensively.MethodsBetween October 29, 2007 and March 26, 2017, 598 consecutive children with newly diagnosed ALL were enrolled in a clinical trial at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Patients were provisional classified according to the presenting clinical and laboratory features including immunophenotype and cytogenetics. Patients with ETV6-RUNX1 and high hyperdiploid B-progenitor ALL were provisionally included in the low-risk groups; those with TCF3-PBX1, hypodiploidy and T-cell ALL in the standard (intermediate)-risk group; and patients with BCR-ABL1, KMT2A and early T-cell precursor ALL in the high-risk group. Final risk assignment was based primarily on MRD levels measured by flow cytometry on Day 15 (≥1%) and Day 42 (<0.01% or ≥1%) of remission induction. Using genomic classification based on cytogenetics and genomic analysis (single nucleotide polymorphism array analysis and transcriptome, exome, and genome sequencing), patients were classified into 17 subtypes. The primary aim was to determine the event-free survival, overall survival and cumulative risk of relapse according to specific leukemia subtypes and MRD levels on Days 8, 15 and 42 of remission induction. This clinical trial was registered at, number NCT00549848.FindingsPatients with ETV6-RUNX1, high hyperdiploidy and DUX4-rearranged B-ALL all received low- or standard-risk therapy, and had the highest 5-year event-free survival rates: 98.4% (95% CI, 95.9-100), 95.3% (91.2-99.4), and 95.0% (84.2-100), respectively. All 142 patients with Day 8 MRD<0.01%, except two with KMT2A-rearranged ALL and one with TCF3-PBX1, were in continuous complete remission. The TCF3-PBX1, PAX5alt, T-cell, early T-cell precursor, iAMP21 and hypodiploid ALL had intermediate outcome with 5-year event-free survival rates ranging from 80.0% (39.4-100) to 88.2% (71.7-100). Patients with KMT2A-rearranged, BCR-ABL1, BCR-ABL1-like and ETV6-RUNX1-like ALL had the worst outcomes, with 5-year event-free survival rates between 64.1% (43.9-84.3) and 76.2% (51.9-100), despite most patients receiving standard- or high-risk therapy. Treatment intensification based on MRD and genotype improved outcome. Relapse did not occur in any of the patients with ETV6-RUNX1, DUX4-rearranged, TCF3-PBX1, iAMP21, ZNF384-rearranged, hypodiploid, or BCR-ABL1-like B-ALL who had day 15 MRD≥1% and received standard-risk therapy. However, day 42 MRD<0.01% did not preclude relapse in patients with intermediate-risk or unfavorable subtypes including TCF3-PBX1, PAX5alt, T-cell, iAMP21, BCR-ABL1, BCR-ABL1-like, ETV6-RUNX1-like, KMT2A-rearranged, and MEF2D-rearranged ALL, despite intensified treatment in the standard- or high-risk arms. InterpretationContemporary risk-directed treatment based on genotypes and MRD can cure virtually all patients with ETV6-RUNX1, hyperdiploid>50 and DUX4-rearranged ALL. While intensified treatment improve outcome for patients with high MRD during induction, substantial proportions of patients with intermediate-risk or unfavorable subtypes would still relapse even achieving negative MRD status at the end of induction and require novel therapeutics to improve outcome.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001006609 Illumina HiSeq 2000 Illumina NovaSeq 6000 122
Publications Citations
Clinical significance of novel subtypes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the context of minimal residual disease-directed therapy.
Blood Cancer Discov 2: 2021 326-337
A convergent malignant phenotype in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia involving the splicing factor SRRM1.
NAR Cancer 4: 2022 zcac041
Pharmacotypes across the genomic landscape of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and impact on treatment response.
Nat Med 29: 2023 170-179