Cytogenetics and Blast Count Determine Transplant Outcomes in Patients with Active Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acta Haematol. 2021;144(1):74-81. doi: 10.1159/000507012. Epub 2020 Jun 30.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients not in remission and beyond first or second complete remission are considered allogeneic stem cell transplant (SCT) candidates. We present 361 patients who underwent SCT from matched related or unrelated donors between 2005 and 2013. The purpose was to identify a subgroup of patients with active disease at the time of transplant that benefit. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used for univariate and multivariate analyses to predict overall survival (OS). Variables considered were age, sex, SWOG cytogenetic risk group, bone marrow (BM) and peripheral blood (PB) blast percentage, regimen intensity, and type of AML. At a median of 26 months after transplantation, OS, progression-free survival (PFS), non-relapse mortality, and relapse rates were 26, 24, 23, and 48%, respectively. In a univariate analysis, risk cytogenetics (p < 0.001) and BM blasts >4% (p = 0.006) or any blasts in PB (p < 0.001) indicated worse OS. In a multivariate analysis, patients with <5% BM blasts or absence of circulating blasts and good or intermediate risk cytogenetics had significantly superior OS (46%), PFS (44%), and disease progression at 3 years. Based on these findings, patients not in remission with good or intermediate risk cytogenetics and low blast counts should be considered for SCT.

Keywords: AML; Relapse; Stem cell transplant.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / diagnosis
  • Graft vs Host Disease / etiology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / mortality
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor