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PURPOSE: To determine the clinical relevance of mutations in the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha (CEBPA) gene in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and to examine factors that might modify prognostic impact. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The entire CEBPA coding sequence was screened in 1,427 young adult patients with AML, excluding acute promyelocytic leukemia, using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography and direct sequencing. RESULTS: Of 107 patients (7%) with CEBPA mutations, 48 patients (45%) had one mutation (CEBPA-single), and 59 patients (55%) had two mutations (CEBPA-double). The incidence of CEBPA-double patients was similar in intermediate cytogenetic risk patients with and without a normal karyotype (6% and 5%, respectively). CEBPA-double patients had evidence of a lower coincidence with FLT3/ITDs (P = .04) and were highly unlikely to have an NPM1 mutation (P < .0001). CEBPA-double but not CEBPA-single patients had a significantly better overall survival (OS) at 8 years (34%, 31%, and 54% for CEBPA-wild-type [WT], CEBPA-single, and CEBPA-double, respectively, P = .004). This benefit was lost in the presence of a FLT3/ITD (OS for CEBPA-WT, CEBPA-single, and CEBPA-double FLT3/ITD-negative patients: 36%, 35%, 59%, respectively, P = .002; OS for CEBPA-WT, CEBPA-single, and CEBPA-double FLT3/ITD-positive patients: 26%, 21%, 14%, respectively, P = .05). There was no evidence of any additional favorable benefit for a CEBPA-single mutation in the presence of an NPM1 mutation (OS, 45%, 44%, and 56%, P = .2, for NPM1-positive/CEBPA-WT, NPM1-positive/CEBPA-single, and NPM1-negative/CEBPA-double patients, respectively). CONCLUSION: Screening for CEBPA mutations can be restricted to patients with intermediate-risk cytogenetics lacking an FLT3/ITD or NPM1 mutation. Only the presence of a CEBPA-double mutation should be used for therapy risk stratification.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Oncol

Publication Date





2739 - 2747


Adult, Age Factors, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Bone Marrow Transplantation, CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha, Cohort Studies, Combined Modality Therapy, Disease-Free Survival, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genetic Testing, Genotype, Humans, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Mutation, Nuclear Proteins, Predictive Value of Tests, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Sex Factors, Survival Analysis, Young Adult, fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3