Indexed on: 26 Mar '16Published on: 26 Mar '16Published in: Leukemia
Measurable ('minimal') residual disease (MRD) before or after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) identifies adults with AML at risk of poor outcomes. Here, we studied whether peri-transplant MRD dynamics can refine risk assessment. We analyzed 279 adults receiving myeloablative allogeneic HCT in first or second remission who survived at least 35 days and underwent 10-color multiparametric flow cytometry (MFC) analyses of marrow aspirates before and 28±7 days after transplantation. MFC-detectable MRD before (n=63) or after (n=16) transplantation identified patients with high relapse risk and poor survival. Forty-nine patients cleared MRD with HCT conditioning, whereas two patients developed new evidence of disease. The 214 MRD(neg)/MRD(neg) patients had excellent outcomes, whereas both MRD(neg)/MRD(pos) patients died within 100 days following transplantation. For patients with pre-HCT MRD, outcomes were poor regardless of post-HCT MRD status, although survival beyond 3 years was only observed among the 58 patients with decreasing but not the seven patients with increasing peri-HCT MRD levels. In multivariable models, pre-HCT but not post-HCT MRD was independently associated with overall survival and risk of relapse. These data indicate that MRD(pos) patients before transplantation have a high relapse risk regardless of whether or not they clear MFC-detectable disease with conditioning and should be considered for pre-emptive therapeutic strategies.Leukemia advance online publication, 25 March 2016; doi:10.1038/leu.2016.46.