Karyotypes like Philadelphia-chromosome (Ph+) and t(4;11) adversely influence clinical outcome in adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) after chemotherapy. Here, we analyze the potential impact of karyotype on outcome after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell therapy (HSCT) in ALL.

We present a retrospective analysis of 135 adult ALL patients treated unicentrically within the German ALL (GMALL) protocol using allogeneic HSCT. All patients were high-risk patients in CR1 according to GMALL definitions (i.e., WBC > 30.000/μl, pro-B-ALL, t(4;11), t(9;22), early T- or mature T-ALL, no CR after first induction) or were beyond CR1.

Median age of all patients was 29 years (range 16 – 55), 99 B-lineage and 36 T-lineage ALLs were transplanted. Normal karyotype was present in 57 patients, Ph+ in 36 patients, complex chromosomal anomalies in six patients, t(4;11) in five patients, other aberrations in 22 patients and no growth/no cytogenetic data were available for 9 patients. Patients were transplanted in complete remission (CR) CR1 (60), CR2 (23), CR3 (7), first relapse (30), second relapse (6), third relapse (1) and eight patients had primary induction failure. 41 patients received bone marrow and 94 patients received peripheral blood stem cell transplants. Patients received standard high-dose (n=125) or reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) (n=10) HSCT from related (n=58) or unrelated (n=77) donors.

Overall, after a median follow-up of 11 months (range 1–120), 74 (55%) patients died and 61 (45%) are alive. Median follow-up of the living is 29 months (range 1–120). Deaths were due to treatment-related mortality (TRM; n=33; 24%) or relapse (n=41; 31%). Leukemia-free survival (LFS), overall survival, and TRM were not significantly different between the karyotype subgroups studied. LFS at 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and five years was 62%, 60%, 50%, and 41% for patients with a normal karyotype; 63%, 47%, 40%, and 28% for patients with Ph+; and 61%, 40%, 27%, and 27% for patients with other aberrations. 4/5 patients with t(4;11) and 4/6 patients with complex chromosomal abnormalities are alive in CR.

In conclusion, there is no adverse impact of classical poor risk karyotypes on outcome within this high-risk group of ALL patients after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. In contrast, there was a trend that patients with t(4;11) and complex chromosomal anomalies did better (4/5 alive, 1/5 TRM and 4/6 alive, 1/6 TRM, 1/6 relapse, respectively) than patients with other aberrations (8/22 alive, 8/22 death due to relapse, 6/22 TRM). High-risk ALL patients with poor risk cytogenetics are candidates for allogeneic stem cell transplantation which can be curative. Whether other conditioning regimens or adoptive immunotherapy can reduce relapse rate in this patient group is a matter of ongoing clinical research.

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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