Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is an aggressive myeloproliferative neoplasm of childhood associated with a poor prognosis. Recently, massively parallel sequencing has identified recurrent mutations in the SKI domain of SETBP1 in a variety of myeloid disorders. These lesions were detected in nearly 10% of patients with JMML and have been characterized as secondary events. We hypothesized that rare subclones with SETBP1 mutations are present at diagnosis in a large portion of patients who relapse, but are below the limits of detection for conventional deep sequencing platforms. Using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction, we identified SETBP1 mutations in 17/56 (30%) of patients who were treated in the Children's Oncology Group sponsored clinical trial, AAML0122. Five-year event-free survival in patients with SETBP1 mutations was 18% ± 9% compared with 51% ± 8% for those without mutations (P = .006).
© 2015 by The American Society of Hematology.