Prognostic value of cytogenetics in adult patients with Philadelphia-negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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The prognostic value of cytogenetics in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is not as established as in childhood ALL. We have analyzed the outcome and prognostic value of karyotype in 84 adults diagnosed with Philadelphia-negative ALL from a single institution that received induction chemotherapy and had successful karyotype performed. The most frequent finding was normal karyotype in 35 (42%) cases, followed by aneuploidies in 20 cases (24%) and t(4;11)(q21;q23)/MLL/AF4 in 5 (6%), and the remaining 24(27%) cases carried miscellaneous clonal abnormalities. The group of patients with t(4;11)(q21;q23)/MLL/AF4, hypodiploidy and low hyperdiploidy (less than 50 chromosomes) showed a worse outcome than those with normal karyotype and miscellaneous abnormalities in terms of overall survival (OS) (3 years OS; 47% vs. 13%, p = 0.014) and relapse-free survival (RFS) (3 years RFS; 44% vs. 27%, p = 0.005). Other cytogenetic prognostic classifications reported to date were tested in our series, but any was fully reproducible. In conclusion, karyotype is a useful tool for risk assessment in adult ALL. We have confirmed the bad prognosis of t(4;11)(q21;q23)/MLL/AF4 and hypodiploidy. Besides, low hyperdiploidy could also define a high-risk group of patients who might be candidates for more intensive treatment.

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