Abstract

Background: Approximately 45% of AML patients have a normal karyptype (NK-AML) and an intermediate clinical prognosis. As only 20–42% of these patients show long-term survival, it is important to identify prognostic markers to distinguish patients’ outcome more precisely. Mutations in the FLT3 gene such as internal tandem duplications (ITD) in the juxtamembrane domain and point mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) are the second most common abnormalties in AML patients. For FLT3-ITD it is well known that patients have an unfavourable prognosis. Up to now there are not enough reliable data to determine the prognostic impact of FLT3-TKD mutations.

Patients and Methods: We have investigated the prevalence of FLT3-TKD mutations in a cohort of 803 cytogenetically normal AML (NK-AML) patients and its possible prognostic significance. At diagnosis the mutation status of FLT3 (ITD and TKD) and the NPM1 gene were analyzed by routine molecular techniques.

Results: The median age of all patients was 60 years and the median observation time of survivors 23.2 months. Results of the mutation status’ of FLT3-ITD, FLT3-TKD and NPM1 were available in 757/803 (94.3%), 683/803 (85.1%) and 696/803 (86.7%) patients, respectively. FLT3-ITD, FLT3-TKD and NPM1 mutations were found in 222 (29.3%), 46 (6.7%) and 354 (50.9%) of all analyzed patients, respectively. We could not detect any influence of the FLT3-TKD mutation on OS (p= 0.753), RFS (p= 0.229), EFS (p= 0.835), CR (p= 0.168) and on d16 blast count (p= 0.696). In most patients FLT3-ITD and TKD mutations were mutually exclusive, although a minority of 8/674 patients (1.2%) carried both mutations. FLT3-TKD mutations were more frequently found in patients with NPM1 mutations compared to NPM1-negative patients (9.04% vs. 3.74%; p= 0.008). In contrast to FLT3-ITD mutations FLT3-TKD mutation had no prognostic impact in NPM1 positive AML cases.

Conclusions: In our study in a large cohort of 803 NK-AML patients we could not detect any prognostic impact of FLT3-TKD mutations. Although FLT3-ITD and TKD mutations have both transforming potential in vitro and in vivo mouse models, the clinical impact of both mutations shows striking differences. Further studies with FLT3-PTK inhibitors will clarify the pathogenetic relevance of these mutations in AML.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.