We analyzed karyotype stability in 22 patients with acute leukemia at relapse or disease progression after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT). Karyotypes before and at relapse after allo-SCT were different in 15 patients (68%), the most frequent type being clonal evolution either alone or combined with clonal devolution (13 patients). Patients with and without a karyotype change did not differ significantly in overall survival (OS) (median, 399 vs. 452 days; P = 0.889) and survival after relapse (median, 120 vs. 370 days; P = 0.923). However, acquisition of additional structural chromosome 1 abnormalities at relapse after allo-SCT occurred more frequently than expected and was associated with reduced OS (median, 125 vs. 478 days; P = 0.008) and shorter survival after relapse (median, 37 vs. 370 days; P = 0.002). We identified a previously undescribed clonal evolution involving t(15;17) without PML-RARA rearrangement in an AML patient. We conclude that a karyotype change is common at relapse after allo-SCT in acute leukemia patients. Moreover, our data suggest that additional structural chromosome 1 abnormalities are overrepresented at relapse after allo-SCT in these patients and, in contrast to a karyotype change per se, are associated with reduced OS and shorter survival after relapse.
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