Integrated use of minimal residual disease classification and IKZF1 alteration status accurately predicts 79% of relapses in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Waanders, E, van der Velden, V H J, van der Schoot, C E, van Leeuwen, F N, van Reijmersdal, S V, de Haas, V, Veerman, A J, van Kessel, A Geurts, Hoogerbrugge, P M, Kuiper, R P, van Dongen, J J M


Leukemia 25 (2), p. 254-8


Response to therapy as determined by minimal residual disease (MRD) is currently used for stratification in treatment protocols for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, the large MRD-based medium risk group (MRD-M; 50-60% of the patients) harbors many relapses. We analyzed MRD in 131 uniformly treated precursor-B-ALL patients and evaluated whether combined MRD and IKZF1 (Ikaros zinc finger-1) alteration status can improve risk stratification. We confirmed the strong prognostic significance of MRD classification, which was independent of IKZF1 alterations. Notably, 8 of the 11 relapsed cases in the large MRD-M group (n=81; 62%) harbored an IKZF1 alteration. Integration of both MRD and IKZF1 status resulted in a favorable outcome group (n=104; 5 relapses) and a poor outcome group (n=27; 19 relapses), and showed a stronger prognostic value than each of the established risk factors alone (hazard ratio (95%CI): 24.98 (8.29-75.31)). Importantly, whereas MRD and IKZF1 status alone identified only 46 and 54% of the relapses, respectively, their integrated use allowed prediction of 79% of all the relapses with 93% specificity. Because of the unprecedented sensitivity in upfront relapse prediction, the combined parameters have high potential for future risk stratification, particularly for patients originally classified as non-high risk, such as the large group of MRD-M patients.