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Cytogenetics is considered one of the most valuable prognostic determinants in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, many studies on which this assertion is based were limited by relatively small sample sizes or varying treatment approach, leading to conflicting data regarding the prognostic implications of specific cytogenetic abnormalities. The Medical Research Council (MRC) AML 10 trial, which included children and adults up to 55 years of age, not only affords the opportunity to determine the independent prognostic significance of pretreatment cytogenetics in the context of large patient groups receiving comparable therapy, but also to address their impact on the outcome of subsequent transplantation procedures performed in first complete remission (CR). On the basis of response to induction treatment, relapse risk, and overall survival, three prognostic groups could be defined by cytogenetic abnormalities detected at presentation in comparison with the outcome of patients with normal karyotype. AML associated with t(8;21), t(15;17) or inv(16) predicted a relatively favorable outcome. Whereas in patients lacking these favorable changes, the presence of a complex karyotype, -5, del(5q), -7, or abnormalities of 3q defined a group with relatively poor prognosis. The remaining group of patients including those with 11q23 abnormalities, +8, +21, +22, del(9q), del(7q) or other miscellaneous structural or numerical defects not encompassed by the favorable or adverse risk groups were found to have an intermediate prognosis. The presence of additional cytogenetic abnormalities did not modify the outcome of patients with favorable cytogenetics. Subgroup analysis demonstrated that the three cytogenetically defined prognostic groups retained their predictive value in the context of secondary as well as de novo AML, within the pediatric age group and furthermore were found to be a key determinant of outcome from autologous or allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in first CR. This study highlights the importance of diagnostic cytogenetics as an independent prognostic factor in AML, providing the framework for a stratified treatment approach of this disease, which has been adopted in the current MRC AML 12 trial.


Journal article



Publication Date





2322 - 2333


Acute Disease, Adolescent, Adult, Aneuploidy, Child, Chromosome Aberrations, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 8, Cytodiagnosis, Evaluation Studies as Topic, Female, Humans, Karyotyping, Leukemia, Myeloid, Life Tables, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Second Primary, Prognosis, Recurrence, Remission Induction, Survival Analysis, Translocation, Genetic, Treatment Outcome