Survival Following Relapse in Children with Acute Myeloid Leukemia : A Report from AML-BFM and COG

Post-relapse therapy remains critical for survival in children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We evaluated survival, response and prognostic variables following relapse in independent cooperative group studies conducted by COG and the population-based AML-BFM study group. BFM included 197 patients who relapsed after closure of the last I-BFM relapse trial until 2017, while COG included 852 patients who relapsed on the last Phase 3 trials (AAML0531, AAML1031). Overall survival at 5 years (OS) was 42 ± 4% (BFM) and 35 ± 2% (COG). Initial high-risk features (BFM 32 ± 6%, COG 26 ± 4%) and short time to relapse (BFM 29 ± 4%, COG 25 ± 2%) predicted diminished survival. In the BFM dataset, there was no difference in OS for patients who had a complete remission with full hematopoietic recovery (CR) following post-relapse re-induction compared to those with partial neutrophil and platelet recovery (CRp and CRi) only (52 ± 7% vs. 63 ± 10%, p = 0.39). Among 90 patients alive at last follow-up, 87 had received a post-relapse hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). OS for patients with post-relapse HSCT was 54 ± 4%. In conclusion, initial high-risk features and early relapse remain prognostic. Response assessment with full hematopoietic recovery following initial relapse therapy does not predict survival. These data indicate the need for post-relapse risk stratification in future studies of relapse therapies.


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