Distinct clinical characteristics of DUX4 and PAX5 altered childhood B-lymphoblastic leukemia

Blood Adv. 2021 Sep 21;bloodadvances.2021004895. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004895. Online ahead of print.


In childhood B-ALL, among the recently described subtypes were DUX4 and PAX5 altered (PAX5alt). Using whole transcriptome RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) in 377 B-ALL children from MaSpore ALL 2003/2010 (MS2003/MS2010) studies, we found that, after hyperdiploid and ETV6-RUNX1, the third and fourth most common subtypes were DUX4 (n= 51; 14%) and PAX5alt (n= 36; 10%). DUX4 also formed the largest genetic subtype among patients with poor Day 33 MRD (n=12/44). But despite the poor MRD, outcome of DUX4 B-ALL was excellent (5-year cumulative risk of relapse (CIR) 8.9% [95% CI, 2.8% to 19.5%], 5-year OS 97.8% [95% CI, 85.3% to 99.7%]). In MS2003, 21% DUX4 B-ALL had poor peripheral blood (PB) response to prednisolone at day 8, higher than other subtypes (8%; P=0.03). In MS2010, with vincristine at day 1, no day 8 poor PB response was observed in DUX4 subtype (P=0.03). PAX5alt group had an intermediate risk of relapse (5-year CIR 18.1%) but when IKZF1 was not deleted, outcome was excellent with no relapse among 23 patients. Compared to MS2003, outcome of PAX5alt B-ALL with IKZF1 co-deletion was improved by treatment intensification in MS2010 (5-year CIR 80.0% vs 0%; P=0.05). In conclusion, despite its poor initial response, DUX4 B-ALL had a favorable overall outcome, and the prognosis of PAX5alt was strongly dependent on IKZF1 co-deletion.