In acute myeloid leukemia (AML) mutations in the juxtamembrane and tyrosine kinase 1 domain (exons 13-15) of the FLT3 gene (FLT3-ITD/LM) are heterogeneous with respect to mutation load, size, and localization. We characterized length and structure of these mutations by fragment analysis and sequencing in 689 AML which were identified among 3,365 (20.5%) newly diagnosed AML (1,803 males, 1,562 females; 15.8-91.8 years). Mutations were heterogeneous in length (median: 63, range: 3-1,236 nucleotides; nt). Most frequent were sizes of 21 (8.4%) or 24 nt (6.0%). Ninety-one different insertion sites were observed (between nt 1,788 and 1,934, according to accession "FLT3 [Ensembl/Havana merge: ENSG00000122025]" with nt 1,856 (n = 41) and 1,863 (n = 35) being most frequent. In addition, 89 different insertion end points were observed between nt 1,790 and 1,994. FLT3-mutation/wild-type ratio was available in 615 patients (median, 0.80; range 0.03-181.73). 128 Patients (20.8%) had ratios <0.3, 334 (54.3%) had ratio ≥0.3 <1, 118 (19.2%) ≥1, and 35 (5.7%) showed complete loss of the FLT3-wild-type allele. Overall (OS) and event-free (EFS) survival were better for FLT3-negative than FLT3mut normal karyotype patients (P = 0.078 and P = 0.004, respectively) and patients with low level FLT3-mutations had significantly longer OS and EFS compared with high level mutations (FLT3-mutation/wild-type ratio ≥1) (P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively). The length of the mutation had no prognostic impact. Mutations localized more 5' were associated with better outcome than more 3'mutations, but no strict association to certain functional domains was detected. In conclusion, FLT3-mutations are extremely heterogenous with mutation load being the most relevant parameter.
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