Abstract

On intergroup phase III trial, MRC UKALLXII/ECOG2993, 25% of 613 ECOG patients were positive for Ph or its molecular equivalent, BCR/ABL; all were B-lineage ALLs (B-ALL). When compared to Ph(−) B-ALL, Ph(+) ALL had more blasts expressing CD25 (α-chain of interleukin-2 [IL-2] receptor) (p=3E-31), CD34 (p=4E-10), CD13 (p=3.9E-16) and CD33 (p=3.5E-09), and blasts with higher density of CD10 (p=9.6E-12). There was no difference in antigen expression profiles between pts with e1a2 (N=107) and b2a2/b3a2 (N=48) BCR/ABL transcripts. Complete remission (CR) rate was lower (p= 7.4E-6) and overall survival (OS) was shorter in Ph(+) compared with Ph(−) B-ALL (p=6.5E-5). There was no difference in outcome between e1a2 and b2a2/b3a2 pts (p=0.65). CD25 was the most powerful prognostic indicator in Ph(+) cases, both for CR (p=0.004) and OS (p=1.3E-05). Strikingly, CD25 negatively affected OS in a continuous fashion; 1% increase in CD25 was related to a 1% increase in the hazard of death. On the other hand, CD25 expression was not associated with OS in Ph(−) pts (p=0.66). Among 152 Ph(+) pts, 30 lacked CD25 expression, 24 with e1a2 and 6 with b2a2/b3a2 transcripts. When analyzed separately, CD25(−)Ph(+) pts had outcome indistinguishable from that of Ph(−) pts (p=0.89). Compared to CD25(+)Ph(+) pts, CD25(−) Ph(+) pts had lower WBC counts at presentation (p=4.1E-05). Both CD25(+) and CD25(−) Ph(+) blasts expressed the γ-chain but not the β-chain of the IL-2 receptor, arguing against the presence of a functional IL-2 receptor. There was no association between CD25 expression or outcome and the presence of additional cytogenetic abnormalities seen in 52% of Ph(+) pts. To further examine the prognostic impact of CD25, BCR/ABL levels were quantitated by real-time PCR in 136 Ph(+) pts at presentation. There was no correlation between presenting BCR/ABL levels and blast count (p=0.98), achievement of CR (p=0.73), or OS (p=0.67). However, higher blast counts at diagnosis were associated with shorter survival (p=0.003). BCR/ABL levels were measured in 43 pts 1 month after induction therapy. Changes in BCR/ABL after therapy were classified as undetectable, >90% reduction, >50% reduction, or no change. While CR status did not correlate with BCR/ABL reduction (p=0.97), the chance of survival ranked in the order of undetectable (p=0.01), >90% reduction (p=0.05), >50% reduction (p=0.37), or no change (p=0.87). CD25 expression at presentation correlated with that order (p=0.002). CD25(−)Ph(+) pts fell into the group with undetectable BCR/ABL levels after treatment, whereas pts with highest initial CD25 expression fell into the group with no change. In conclusion, CD25(−)Ph(+) blasts are more sensitive to non-TKI therapy than CD25(+) Ph(+) blasts. Outcome in Ph(+) ALL is thus determined by CD25 expression rather than the presence of Ph per se.

RESPONSE CD25(+)Ph(+) CD25(−)Ph(+) Ph(−) B-Lin ALL 
122 30 308 
% CR Rate 57% 71% 81% 
MedianOS (months) 12.2 30.2 27.7 
RESPONSE CD25(+)Ph(+) CD25(−)Ph(+) Ph(−) B-Lin ALL 
122 30 308 
% CR Rate 57% 71% 81% 
MedianOS (months) 12.2 30.2 27.7 

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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