MRD assessment in t(8;21) AML allows identification of patients at high relapse risk at defined time points during treatment and follow-up.
MRD− after treatment is the most favorable factor for relapse risk and survival, and serial MRD analyses define cutoffs predicting relapse.
We performed serial measurable residual disease (MRD) monitoring in bone marrow (BM) and peripheral blood (PB) samples of 155 intensively treated patients with RUNX1-RUNX1T1+ AML, using a qRT-PC–based assay with a sensitivity of up to 10−6. We assessed both reduction of RUNX1-RUNX1T1 transcript levels (TLs) and achievement of MRD negativity (MRD−) for impact on prognosis. Achievement of MR2.5 (>2.5 log reduction) after treatment cycle 1 and achievement of MR3.0 after treatment cycle 2 were significantly associated with a reduced risk of relapse (P = .034 and P = .028, respectively). After completion of therapy, achievement of MRD− in both BM and PB was an independent, favorable prognostic factor in cumulative incidence of relapse (4-year cumulative incidence relapse: BM, 17% vs 36%, P = .021; PB, 23% vs 55%, P = .001) and overall survival (4-year overall survival rate BM, 93% vs 70%, P = .007; PB, 87% vs 47%, P < .0001). Finally, during follow-up, serial qRT-PCR analyses allowed prediction of relapse in 77% of patients exceeding a cutoff value of 150 RUNX1-RUNX1T1 TLs in BM, and in 84% of patients exceeding a value of 50 RUNX1-RUNX1T1 TLs in PB. The KIT mutation was a significant factor predicting a lower CR rate and inferior outcome, but its prognostic impact was outweighed by RUNX1-RUNX1T1 TLs during treatment. Virtually all relapses occurred within 1 year after the end of treatment, with a very short latency from molecular to morphologic relapse, necessitating MRD assessment at short intervals during this time period. Based on our data, we propose a refined practical guideline for MRD assessment in RUNX1-RUNX1T1+ AML.