Genetic alterations and MRD refine risk assessment for KMT2A-rearranged B-cell precursor ALL in adults: a GRAALL study

Blood. 2023 Nov 23;142(21):1806-1817. doi: 10.1182/blood.2023021501.


KMT2A-rearranged (KMT2A-r) B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) is widely recognized as a high-risk leukemia in both children and adults. However, there is a paucity of data on adults treated in recent protocols, and the optimal treatment strategy for these patients is still a matter of debate. In this study, we set out to refine the prognosis of adult KMT2A-r BCP-ALL treated with modern chemotherapy regimen and investigate the prognostic impact of comutations and minimal residual disease (MRD). Of 1091 adult patients with Philadelphia-negative BCP-ALL enrolled in 3 consecutive trials from the Group for Research on Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (GRAALL), 141 (12.9%) had KMT2A-r, with 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse (CIR) and overall survival (OS) rates of 40.7% and 53.3%, respectively. Molecular profiling highlighted a low mutational burden in this subtype, reminiscent of infant BCP-ALL. However, the presence of TP53 and/or IKZF1 alterations defined a subset of patients with significantly poorer CIR (69.3% vs 36.2%; P = .001) and OS (28.1% vs 60.7%; P = .006) rates. Next, we analyzed the prognostic implication of MRD measured after induction and first consolidation, using both immunoglobulin (IG) or T-cell receptor (TR) gene rearrangements and KMT2A genomic fusion as markers. In approximately one-third of patients, IG/TR rearrangements were absent or displayed clonal evolution during the disease course, compromising MRD monitoring. In contrast, KMT2A-based MRD was highly reliable and strongly associated with outcome, with early good responders having an excellent outcome (3-year CIR, 7.1%; OS, 92.9%). Altogether, our study reveals striking heterogeneity in outcomes within adults with KMT2A-r BCP-ALL and provides new biomarkers to guide risk-based therapeutic stratification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Neoplasm, Residual / genetics
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / genetics
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment


  • Immunoglobulins