Relapse of Acute Myeloid Leukemia after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation: Prevention, Detection, and Treatment

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jan 8;20(1):228. doi: 10.3390/ijms20010228.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a phenotypically and prognostically heterogeneous hematopoietic stem cell disease that may be cured in eligible patients with intensive chemotherapy and/or allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT). Tremendous advances in sequencing technologies have revealed a large amount of molecular information which has markedly improved our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and enables a better classification and risk estimation. Furthermore, with the approval of the FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) inhibitor Midostaurin a first targeted therapy has been introduced into the first-line therapy of younger patients with FLT3-mutated AML and several other small molecules targeting molecular alterations such as isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations or the anti-apoptotic b-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) protein are currently under investigation. Despite these advances, many patients will have to undergo allo-SCT during the course of disease and depending on disease and risk status up to half of them will finally relapse after transplant. Here we review the current knowledge about the molecular landscape of AML and how this can be employed to prevent, detect and treat relapse of AML after allo-SCT.

Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia; allogeneic transplantation; maintenance; minimal residual disease; relapse; salvage therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / prevention & control*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neoplasm, Residual / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm, Residual / drug therapy
  • Recurrence
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Antineoplastic Agents