Treatment-influenced associations of PML-RAR? mutations, FLT3 mutations, and additional chromosome abnormalities in relapsed acute promyelocytic leukemia.
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Mutations in the all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-targeted ligand binding domain of PML-RAR? (PR?/LBD+) have been implicated in the passive selection of ATRA-resistant acute promyelocytic leukemia clones leading to disease relapse. Among 45 relapse patients from the ATRA/chemotherapy arm of intergroup protocol C9710, 18 patients harbored PR?/LBD+ (40%), 7 of whom (39%) relapsed Off-ATRA selection pressure, suggesting a possible active role of PR?/LBD+. Of 41 relapse patients coanalyzed, 15 (37%) had FMS-related tyrosine kinase 3 internal tandem duplication mutations (FLT3-ITD+), which were differentially associated with PR?/LBD+ depending on ATRA treatment status at relapse: positively, On-ATRA; negatively, Off-ATRA. Thirteen of 21 patients (62%) had additional chromosome abnormalities (ACAs); all coanalyzed PR?/LBD mutant patients who relapsed off-ATRA (n = 5) had associated ACA. After relapse Off-ATRA, ACA and FLT3-ITD+ were negatively associated and were oppositely associated with presenting white blood count and PML-RAR? type: ACA, low, L-isoform; FLT3-ITD+, high, S-isoform. These exploratory results suggest that differing PR?/LBD+ activities may interact with FLT3-ITD+ or ACA, that FLT3-ITD+ and ACA are associated with different intrinsic disease progression pathways manifest at relapse Off-ATRA, and that these different pathways may be short-circuited by ATRA-selectable defects at relapse On-ATRA. ACA and certain PR?/LBD+ were also associated with reduced postrelapse survival.