Clinical impact of change of FLT3 mutation status in acute myeloid leukemia patients

Mod Pathol. 2012 Oct;25(10):1405-12. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2012.88. Epub 2012 Jun 8.


FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) is one of the most frequently mutated genes in acute myeloid leukemia and is associated with worse clinical outcome. Changes in FLT3 mutation status can occur during the course of disease, but the clinical impact of a change is unclear. We retrospectively reviewed 3555 acute myeloid leukemia patients, who have been assessed for FLT3 mutation at our institution between May 2002 and January 2011. We found that 42 (6.2%) out of 680 patients with FLT3 mutation experienced a change of FLT3 mutation status. In all, 36 patients with wild-type FLT3 at the time of initial diagnosis gained mutation (Negative/Positive) and six initially FLT3-mutated patients became wild type during their following relapses (Positive/Negative). The 5-year survival of these patients was similar to that of patients with persistently wild-type FLT3 (Negative/Negative; P=0.464), and significantly better than patients who had stable FLT3 mutation during their disease course (Positive/Positive; P<0.001). However, after mutations became detectable in the Negative/Positive group, the forward survival of these patients tracked that of the Positive/Positive group after relapse (P=0.761). In addition, we did not find a significant difference in survival between patients with internal tandem duplications and those with point mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of the FLT3 gene. These results suggest that FLT3 mutations are unstable and that there is potential clinical value in continuously monitoring FLT3 mutation status.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / mortality
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Point Mutation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Young Adult
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3 / genetics*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • FLT3 protein, human
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3