Publications by authors named "Olafur G Jonsson"

43 Publications

Relapse risk following truncation of pegylated asparaginase in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Blood 2021 Apr;137(17):2373-2382

Children and Adolescent Health, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Truncation of asparaginase treatment due to asparaginase-related toxicities or silent inactivation (SI) is common and may increase relapse risk in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). We investigated relapse risk following suboptimal asparaginase exposure among 1401 children aged 1 to 17 years, diagnosed with ALL between July 2008 and February 2016, treated according to the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (NOPHO) ALL2008 protocol (including extended asparaginase exposure [1000 IU/m2 intramuscularly weeks 5-33]). Patients were included with delayed entry at their last administered asparaginase treatment, or detection of SI, and followed until relapse, death, secondary malignancy, or end of follow-up (median, 5.71 years; interquartile range, 4.02-7.64). In a multiple Cox model comparing patients with (n = 358) and without (n = 1043) truncated asparaginase treatment due to clinical toxicity, the adjusted relapse-specific hazard ratio (HR; aHR) was 1.33 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86-2.06; P = .20). In a substudy including only patients with information on enzyme activity (n = 1115), the 7-year cumulative incidence of relapse for the 301 patients with truncation of asparaginase treatment or SI (157 hypersensitivity, 53 pancreatitis, 14 thrombosis, 31 other, 46 SI) was 11.1% (95% CI, 6.9-15.4) vs 6.7% (95% CI, 4.7-8.6) for the 814 remaining patients. The relapse-specific aHR was 1.69 (95% CI, 1.05-2.74, P=.03). The unadjusted bone marrow relapse-specific HR was 1.83 (95% CI, 1.07-3.14, P=.03) and 1.86 (95% CI, 0.90- 3.87, P=.095) for any central nervous system relapse. These results emphasize the importance of therapeutic drug monitoring and appropriate adjustment of asparaginase therapy when feasible. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT03987542.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006583DOI Listing
April 2021

Impact of body mass index on relapse in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia treated according to Nordic treatment protocols.

Eur J Haematol 2020 Dec 20;105(6):797-807. Epub 2020 Sep 20.

Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Objectives: High body mass index (BMI) is associated with poorer survival in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but the actual impact on the risk of relapse still needs to be clarified. We evaluated the impact of BMI at diagnosis on the risk of relapse in children with ALL treated according to Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO) protocols.

Method: In a multicenter study, we collected data on BMI at diagnosis and outcome of 2558 children aged 2.0-17.9 years diagnosed between 1992 and 2016. Patients were divided into four groups according to International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) childhood BMI cut-offs: underweight, <17; healthy weight, 17-25; overweight, 25-30; and obese, ≥30 kg/m .

Results: In Cox multivariate regression analyses, an increased risk of relapse was observed in children aged 10-17.9 years with unhealthy BMI at diagnosis (underweight hazard ratio HR: 2.90 [95% confidence interval: 1.24-6.78], P = .01; overweight, HR: 1.95 [1.11-3.43], P = .02, and obese HR: 4.32 [95% 2.08-8.97], P < .001), compared to children with healthy weight. BMI had no impact on relapse in children under 10 years of age.

Conclusion: High BMI, and especially obesity at diagnosis, is an independent adverse prognostic factor for relapse in older children with ALL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.13517DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693088PMC
December 2020

Genome-Wide Association Meta-Analysis of Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Symptomatic Venous Thromboembolism during Therapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Lymphoma in Caucasian Children.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 May 19;12(5). Epub 2020 May 19.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital Rigshospitalet, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.

Symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE) occurs in five percent of children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but whether a genetic predisposition exists across different ALL treatment regimens has not been well studied.

Methods: We undertook a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis for VTE in consecutively treated children in the Nordic/Baltic acute lymphoblastic leukemia 2008 (ALL2008) cohort and the Australian Evaluation of Risk of ALL Treatment-Related Side-Effects (ERASE) cohort. A total of 92 cases and 1481 controls of European ancestry were included.

Results: No SNPs reached genome-wide significance ( < 5 × 10) in either cohort. Among the top 34 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) ( < 1 × 10), two loci had concordant effects in both cohorts: (rs1804772) (MAF: 1%; = 3.95 × 10) that influences arachidonic acid metabolism and thus platelet aggregation, and (rs570684) (MAF: 1%; = 4.34 × 10) that has been previously associated with risk of ischemic stroke, atherosclerosis, and early-onset coronary artery disease.

Conclusion: This represents the largest GWAS meta-analysis conducted to date associating SNPs to VTE in children and adolescents treated on childhood ALL protocols. Validation of these findings is needed and may then lead to patient stratification for VTE preventive interventions. As VTE hemostasis involves multiple pathways, a more powerful GWAS is needed to detect combination of variants associated with VTE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051285DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280960PMC
May 2020

Asparaginase-Associated Pancreatitis in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Results From the NOPHO ALL2008 Treatment of Patients 1-45 Years of Age.

J Clin Oncol 2020 01 26;38(2):145-154. Epub 2019 Nov 26.

Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Purpose: Asparaginase-associated pancreatitis (AAP) is common in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but risk differences across age groups both in relation to first-time AAP and after asparaginase re-exposure have not been explored.

Patients And Methods: We prospectively registered AAP (n = 168) during treatment of 2,448 consecutive ALL patients aged 1.0-45.9 years diagnosed from July 2008 to October 2018 and treated according to the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (NOPHO) ALL2008 protocol.

Results: Compared with patients aged 1.0-9.9 years, adjusted AAP hazard ratios (HRa) were associated with higher age with almost identical HRa (1.6; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.3; .02) for adolescents (10.0-17.9 years) and adults (18.0-45.9 years). The day 280 cumulative incidences of AAP were 7.0% for children (1.0-9.9 years: 95% CI, 5.4 to 8.6), 10.1% for adolescents (10.0 to 17.9 years: 95% CI, 7.0 to 13.3), and 11.0% for adults (18.0-45.9 years: 95% CI, 7.1 to 14.9; = .03). Adolescents had increased odds of both acute (odds ratio [OR], 5.2; 95% CI, 2.1 to 13.2; .0005) and persisting complications (OR, 6.7; 95% CI, 2.4 to 18.4; .0002) compared with children (1.0-9.9 years), whereas adults had increased odds of only persisting complications (OR, 4.1; 95% CI, 1.4 to 11.8; .01). Fifteen of 34 asparaginase-rechallenged patients developed a second AAP. Asparaginase was truncated in 17/21 patients with AAP who subsequently developed leukemic relapse, but neither AAP nor the asparaginase truncation was associated with increased risk of relapse.

Conclusion: Older children and adults had similar AAP risk, whereas morbidity was most pronounced among adolescents. Asparaginase re-exposure should be considered only for patients with an anticipated high risk of leukemic relapse, because multiple studies strongly indicate that reduction of asparaginase treatment intensity increases the risk of relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.02208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6953441PMC
January 2020

Associations between pretherapeutic body mass index, outcome, and cytogenetic abnormalities in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia.

Cancer Med 2019 11 18;8(15):6634-6643. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus N, Denmark.

Background: Associations between body mass index (BMI), outcome, and leukemia-related factors in children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remain unclear. We investigated associations between pretherapeutic BMI, cytogenetic abnormalities, and outcome in a large multinational cohort of children with AML.

Methods: We included patients, age 2-17 years, diagnosed with de novo AML from the five Nordic countries (2004-2016), Hong Kong (2007-2016), the Netherlands and Belgium (2010-2016), and Canada and USA (1995-2012). BMI standard deviations score for age and sex was calculated and categorized according to the World Health Organization. Cumulative incidence functions, Kaplan-Meier estimator, Cox regression, and logistic regression were used to investigate associations.

Results: In total, 867 patients were included. The median age was 10 years (range 2-17 years). At diagnosis, 32 (4%) were underweight, 632 (73%) were healthy weight, 127 (15%) were overweight, and 76 (9%) were obese. There was no difference in relapse risk, treatment-related mortality or overall mortality across BMI groups. The frequency of t(8;21) and inv(16) increased with increasing BMI. For obese patients, the sex, age, and country adjusted odds ratio of having t(8;21) or inv(16) were 1.9 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-3.4) and 2.8 (95% CI 1.3-5.8), respectively, compared to healthy weight patients.

Conclusions: This study did not confirm previous reports of associations between overweight and increased treatment-related or overall mortality in children. Obesity was associated with a higher frequency of t(8;21) and inv(16). AML cytogenetics appear to differ by BMI status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.2554DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825997PMC
November 2019

Intermittent Versus Continuous PEG-Asparaginase to Reduce Asparaginase-Associated Toxicities: A NOPHO ALL2008 Randomized Study.

J Clin Oncol 2019 07 12;37(19):1638-1646. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

2 University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Purpose: Asparaginase is an essential drug in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) therapy and is frequently given for months to obtain continuous asparagine depletion. We randomly assigned patients to continuous versus intermittent pegylated-asparaginase (PEG-asp) treatment, hypothesizing there would be decreased toxicity with unchanged efficacy.

Methods: Children (median age, 4.2 years) treated for non-high-risk ALL according to the Nordic Society for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology ALL2008 protocol received five intramuscular PEG-asp injections (1,000 IU/m) every two weeks and were then randomly assigned to additional three doses (6-week intervals [experimental arm], n = 309) versus 10 doses (2-week intervals [standard arm], n = 316). The primary end point was noninferior (6% margin) disease-free survival. Toxicity reduction was a secondary end point. Occurrence of asparaginase-associated hypersensitivity, pancreatitis, osteonecrosis, and thromboembolism were prospectively registered.

Results: After a median follow-up of 4.1 years, the 5-year disease-free survival was 92.2% (95% CI, 88.6 to 95.8) and 90.8% (95% CI, 87.0 to 94.6) in the experimental and standard arms, respectively. The 3-year cumulative incidence of any first asparaginase-associated toxicity (hypersensitivity [n = 13]; osteonecrosis [n = 29]; pancreatitis [n = 24]; thromboembolism [n = 17]) was 9.3% in the experimental arm and 18.1% in the standard arm ( = .001). Asparaginase-associated toxicity reduction was confirmed in sex- and risk-group-adjusted Cox regression analysis stratified by age (≥ 10 and < 10 years; hazard ratio, 0.48; = .001). The experimental arm had the lowest incidences of all four toxicities, reaching significance for pancreatitis (6-month risk, 5.8% 1.3%; = .002).

Conclusion: The excellent cure rates and reduced toxicity risk support the use of intermittent PEG-asp therapy after the first 10 weeks in future childhood ALL trials that apply prolonged PEG-asp therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.18.01877DOI Listing
July 2019

Use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and risk of relapse in pediatric patients treated for acute myeloid leukemia according to NOPHO-AML 2004 and DB AML-01.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2019 06 7;66(6):e27701. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Background: Supportive-care use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains controversial due to a theoretical increased risk of relapse and limited impact on neutropenic complications. We describe the use of G-CSF in patients treated according to NOPHO-AML 2004 and DB AML-01 and investigated associations with relapse.

Procedure: Patients diagnosed with de novo AML completing the first week of therapy and not treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in the first complete remission were included (n = 367). Information on G-CSF treatment after each course (yes/no) was registered prospectively in the study database and detailed information was gathered retrospectively from each center. Descriptive statistics were used to describe G-CSF use and Cox regression to assess the association between G-CSF and risk of relapse.

Results: G-CSF as supportive care was given to 128 (35%) patients after 268 (39%) courses, with a large variation between centers (0-93%). The use decreased with time-the country-adjusted odds ratio was 0.8/diagnostic year (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.7-0.9). The median daily dose was 5 μg/kg (range 3-12 μg/kg) and the median cumulative dose was 75 μg/kg (range 7-1460 μg/kg). Filgrastim was used in 82% of G-CSF administrations and infection was the indication in 44% of G-CSF administrations. G-CSF was associated with increased risk of relapse-the adjusted hazard ratio was 1.5 (95% CI 1.1-2.2).

Conclusions: G-CSF as supportive care was used in a third of patients, and use decreased with time. Our results indicate that the use of G-CSF may be associated with an increased risk of relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.27701DOI Listing
June 2019

Low burden of minimal residual disease prior to transplantation in children with very high risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: The NOPHO ALL2008 experience.

Br J Haematol 2019 03 24;184(6):982-993. Epub 2019 Jan 24.

Department of Paediatrics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The population-based Nordic/Baltic acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) Nordic Society for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO) ALL2008 protocol combined minimal residual disease (MRD)-driven treatment stratification with very intense first line chemotherapy for patients with high risk ALL. Patients with MRD ≥5% at end of induction or ≥10 at end of consolidation or following two high risk blocks were eligible for haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) in first remission. After at least three high risk blocks a total of 71 children received HCT, of which 46 had MRD ≥5% at end of induction. Ten patients stratified to HCT were not transplanted; 12 received HCT without protocol indication. Among 69 patients with evaluable pre-HCT MRD results, 22 were MRD-positive, one with MRD ≥10 . After a median follow-up of 5·5 years, the cumulative incidence of relapse was 23·5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 10·5-47·7) for MRD-positive versus 5·1% (95% CI: 1·3-19·2), P = 0·02) for MRD-negative patients. MRD was the only variable significantly associated with relapse (hazard ratio 9·1, 95% CI: 1·6-51·0, P = 0·012). Non-relapse mortality did not differ between the two groups, resulting in disease-free survival of 85·6% (95% CI: 75·4-97·2) and 67·4% (95% CI: 50·2-90·5), respectively. In conclusion, NOPHO block treatment efficiently reduced residual leukaemia which, combined with modern transplant procedures, provided high survival rates, also among pre-HCT MRD-positive patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.15761DOI Listing
March 2019

Genetic predisposition to PEG-asparaginase hypersensitivity in children treated according to NOPHO ALL2008.

Br J Haematol 2019 02 18;184(3):405-417. Epub 2018 Nov 18.

Child and Adolescent Health, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Asparaginase is essential in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) treatment, however hypersensitivity reactions to pegylated asparaginase (PEG-asparaginase) hampers anti-neoplastic efficacy. Patients with PEG-asparaginase hypersensitivity have been shown to possess zero asparaginase enzyme activity. Using this measurement to define the phenotype, we investigated genetic predisposition to PEG-asparaginase hypersensitivity in a genome-wide association study (GWAS). From July 2008 to March 2016, 1494 children were treated on the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology ALL2008 protocol. Cases were defined by clinical hypersensitivity and no enzyme activity, controls had enzyme activity ≥ 100 iu/l and no hypersensitivity symptoms. PEG-asparaginase hypersensitivity was reported in 13·8% (206/1494) of patients. Fifty-nine cases and 772 controls fulfilled GWAS inclusion criteria. The CNOT3 variant rs73062673 on 19q13.42, was associated with PEG-asparaginase allergy (P = 4·68 × 10 ). We further identified two signals on chromosome 6 in relation to HLA-DQA1 (P = 9·37 × 10 ) and TAP2 (P = 1·59 × 10 ). This study associated variants in CNOT3 and in the human leucocyte antigen (HLA) region with PEG-asparaginase hypersensitivity, suggesting that not only genetic variations in the HLA region, but also regulation of these genes are of importance in the biology of this toxicity. Furthermore, our study emphasizes the importance of using asparaginase enzyme activity measurements to identify PEG-asparaginase hypersensitivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.15660DOI Listing
February 2019

Complex and monosomal karyotype are distinct cytogenetic entities with an adverse prognostic impact in paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia. A NOPHO-DBH-AML study.

Br J Haematol 2018 11 8;183(4):618-628. Epub 2018 Nov 8.

Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Data on occurrence, genetic characteristics and prognostic impact of complex and monosomal karyotype (CK/MK) in children with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) are scarce. We studied CK and MK in a large unselected cohort of childhood AML patients diagnosed and treated according to Nordic Society for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO)-AML protocols 1993-2015. In total, 800 patients with de novo AML were included. CK was found in 122 (15%) and MK in 41 (5%) patients. CK and MK patients were young (median age 2·1 and 3·3 years, respectively) and frequently had FAB M7 morphology (24% and 22%, respectively). Refractory disease was more common in MK patients (15% vs. 4%) and stem cell transplantation in first complete remission was more frequent (32% vs. 19%) compared with non-CK/non-MK patients. CK showed no association with refractory disease but was an independent predictor of an inferior event-free survival (EFS; hazard ratio [HR] 1·43, P = 0·03) and overall survival (OS; HR 1·48, P = 0·01). MK was associated with a poor EFS (HR 1·57, P = 0·03) but did not show an inferior OS compared to non-MK patients (HR 1·14, P = 0·62). In a large paediatric cohort, we characterized AML with non-recurrent abnormal karyotype and unravelled the adverse impact of CK and MK on prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.15587DOI Listing
November 2018

Associations between neutrophil recovery time, infections and relapse in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2018 09 21;65(9):e27231. Epub 2018 May 21.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Background: Children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treated similarly show different toxicity and leukemic responses. We investigated associations between neutrophil recovery time after the first induction course, infection and relapse in children treated according to NOPHO-AML 2004 and DB AML-01.

Procedure: Newly diagnosed patients with AML with bone marrow blast <5% between day 15 after the start of the treatment and the start of second induction course, and in complete remission after the second induction course were included (n = 279). Neutrophil recovery time was defined as the time from the start of the course to the last day with absolute neutrophil count <0.5 × 10 /l. Linear and Cox regressions were used to investigate associations.

Results: Neutrophil recovery time after the first induction course was positively associated with neutrophil recovery time after the remaining courses, and longer neutrophil recovery time (≥25 days) was associated with increased risk of grade 3-4 infections (hazard ratio 1.4, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-1.8). Longer neutrophil recovery time after the first induction (>30 days) was associated with the increased risk of relapse (5-year cumulative incidence: 48% vs. 42%, hazard ratio 1.7, 95% CI, 1.1-2.6) for cases not treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in first complete remission.

Conclusion: Longer neutrophil recovery time after the first induction course was associated with grade 3-4 infections and relapse. If confirmed, this knowledge could be incorporated into risk stratification strategies in pediatric AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.27231DOI Listing
September 2018

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with t(7;12)(q36;p13) is associated with infancy and trisomy 19: Data from Nordic Society for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (NOPHO-AML) and review of the literature.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2018 Jul 30;57(7):359-365. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, Denmark.

The t(7;12)(q36;p13) (MNX1/ETV6) is not included in the WHO classification but has been described in up to 30% of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children <2 years and associated with a poor prognosis. We present the clinical and cytogenetics characteristics of AML cases with t(7;12)(p36;p13). A literature review identified 35 patients with this translocation, published between 2000 and 2015. Outcome data were available in 22 cases. The NOPHO-AML (Nordic Society for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology) database contained 651 patients with AML from 1993 to 2014 and seven (1.1%) had the translocation. The t(7;12) was only present in patients <2 years of age (median age 6 months) but none was diagnosed as newborn. These patients constituted 4.3% of the patients <2 years of age. There was a strong association with trisomy 19 (literature: 86%, NOPHO: 100%) and +8 (literature: 19%, NOPHO: 14%). Seventeen of 22 patients from the literature with t(7;12) and four of seven patients from the NOPHO database suffered from relapse. The patients with t(7;12) had a 3-year event free survival of 24% (literature) vs. 43% (NOPHO) and a 3-year overall survival of 42% (literature) vs. 100% (NOPHO). None of the NOPHO patients was treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in first complete remission. Relapse was frequent but the salvage rate using HSCT was high. We conclude that t(7;12)(q36;13) is a unique subgroup of childhood AML with presentation before 2 years of age with most cases being associated with +19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22538DOI Listing
July 2018

Treatment-related mortality in relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2018 04 12;65(4). Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Background: Treatment of relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is particularly challenging due to the high treatment intensity needed to induce and sustain a second remission. To improve results, it is important to understand how treatment-related toxicity impacts survival.

Procedure: In this retrospective population-based study, we described the causes of death and estimated the risk for treatment-related mortality in patients with first relapse of childhood ALL in the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology ALL-92 and ALL-2000 trials.

Results: Among the 483 patients who received relapse treatment with curative intent, we identified 52 patients (10.8%) who died of treatment-related causes. Twelve of these died before achieving second remission and 40 died in second remission. Infections were the cause of death in 38 patients (73.1%), predominantly bacterial infections during the chemotherapy phases of the relapse treatment. Viral infections were more common following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in second remission. Independent risk factors for treatment-related mortality were as follows: high-risk stratification at relapse (hazard ratio [HR] 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3-3.9; P < 0.01), unfavorable cytogenetic aberrations (HR 3.4; 95% CI 1.3-9.2; P = 0.01), and HSCT (HR 4.64; 95% CI 2.17-9.92; P < 0.001). In contrast to previous findings, we did not observe any statistically significant sex or age differences. Interestingly, none of the 17 patients with Down syndrome died of treatment-related causes.

Conclusions: Fatal treatment complications contribute significantly to the poor overall survival after relapse. Implementation of novel therapies with reduced toxicity and aggressive supportive care management are important to improve survival in relapsed childhood ALL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.26909DOI Listing
April 2018

Hyperleucocytosis in paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia - the challenge of white blood cell counts above 200 × 10 /l. The NOPHO experience 1984-2014.

Br J Haematol 2017 08 25;178(3):448-456. Epub 2017 May 25.

Department of Paediatrics, Institution for Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Hyperleucocytosis in paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We studied hyperleucocytosis in 890 patients with AML aged 0-18 years registered in the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO) registry, with special focus on very high white blood cell counts (WBC >200 × 10/l). Eighty-six patients (10%) had WBC 100-199 × 10 /l and 57 (6%) had WBC ≥200 × 10 /l. Patients with WBC ≥200 × 10 /l had a high frequency of t(9;11) and a paucity of trisomy 8. Due to the high frequency of deaths within the first 2 weeks (30% vs. 1% for all others), overall survival in this group was inferior to patients with WBC <200 × 10 /l (39% vs. 61%). Main cause of early death was intracranial haemorrhage and leucostasis. Twenty-six per cent of these patients never started antileukaemic protocol therapy. Leukapheresis or exchange transfusion was used in 24% of patients with hyperleucocytosis without impact on survival. Patients with hyperleucocytosis surviving the first week had identical survival as patients with lower WBC. We conclude that death within the first days after diagnosis is the major challenge in patients with high WBC and advocate rapid initiation of intensive chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.14692DOI Listing
August 2017

Children with low-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia are at highest risk of second cancers.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2017 Oct 13;64(10). Epub 2017 May 13.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: The improved survival rates for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) may be jeopardized by the development of a second cancer, which has been associated with thiopurine therapy.

Procedure: We retrospectively analyzed three sequential Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology's protocols characterized by increasing intensity of thiopurine-based maintenance therapy. We explored the risk of second cancer in relation to protocols, risk group, thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) activity, ALL high hyperdiploidy (HeH), and t(12;21)[ETV6/RUNX1].

Results: After median 9.5 years (interquartile range, 5.4-15.3 yrs) of follow-up, 40 of 3,591 patients had developed a second cancer, of whom 38 had non-high-risk B-cell precursor ALL. Patients with standard-risk ALL, who received the longest maintenance therapy, had the highest adjusted hazard of second cancer (hazard ratio [HR], intermediate vs. standard risk: 0.16, 95% CI: 0.06-0.43, P < 0.001; HR, high vs. standard risk: 0.09, 95% CI: 0.02-0.49, P = 0.006); no significant effects of protocol, age, or white blood cell count at diagnosis, ALL HeH, or t(12;21)[ETV6/RUNX1] were observed. A subset analysis on the patients with standard-risk ALL did not show an increased hazard of second cancer from either HeH or t(12;21) (adjusted HR 2.02, 95% CI: 0.69-5.96, P = 0.20). The effect of low TPMT low activity was explored in patients reaching maintenance therapy in clinical remission (n = 3,368); no association with second cancer was observed (adjusted HR 1.43, 95% CI: 0.54-3.76, P = 0.47).

Conclusions: The rate of second cancer was generally highest in patients with low-risk ALL, but we could not identify a subset at higher risk than others.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.26518DOI Listing
October 2017

Outcome after intensive reinduction therapy and allogeneic stem cell transplant in paediatric relapsed acute myeloid leukaemia.

Br J Haematol 2017 08 25;178(4):592-602. Epub 2017 Apr 25.

Institution for Clinical Sciences, Department of Paediatrics, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Given that 30-40% of children with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) relapse after primary therapy it is important to define prognostic factors and identify optimal therapy. From 1993 to 2012, 543 children from the Nordic countries were treated according to two consecutive protocols: 208 children relapsed. The influence of disease characteristics, first line treatment, relapse therapy and duration of first remission on outcome was analysed. Second complete remission (CR2) was achieved in 146 (70%) patients. Estimated 5-year overall survival (OS ) was 39 ± 4% for the whole group and 43 ± 4% for the 190 patients given re-induction therapy, of whom 76% received regimens that included fludarabine, cytarabine (FLA) ± anthracyclines, 18% received Nordic Society for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO) upfront blocks and 5% received other regimens. Late relapse ≥1 year from diagnosis, no allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) in first remission and core binding factor AML were independent favourable prognostic factors for survival. For the 128 children (124 in CR2) that received SCT as consolidation therapy after relapse, OS was 61 ± 5%. Four of 19 children (21%) survived without receiving SCT as part of relapse therapy. Our data show that intensive re-induction followed by SCT can give cure rates of 40% in children with relapsed AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.14720DOI Listing
August 2017

Extramedullary leukemia in children with acute myeloid leukemia: A population-based cohort study from the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (NOPHO).

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2017 Dec 23;64(12). Epub 2017 Mar 23.

Department of Pediatrics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Background: The prognostic significance of extramedullary leukemia (EML) in childhood acute myeloid leukemia is not clarified.

Procedure: This population-based study included 315 children from the NOPHO-AML 2004 trial.

Results: At diagnosis, 73 (23%) patients had EML: 39 (12%) had myeloid sarcoma, 22 (7%) had central nervous system disease, and 12 (4%) had both. EML was associated with young age (median age: 2.6 years), a high white blood cell count (median: 40 × 10 /l), M5 morphology (40%), and 11q23/MLL (KMT2A) rearrangements (34%). No patient received involved field radiotherapy. Five-year event-free survival did not differ significantly between the EML and the non-EML patients (54% vs. 45%, P = 0.57), whereas 5-year overall survival (OS) was significantly lower in the EML group (64% vs. 73%, P = 0.04). The risk of induction death was significantly higher for EML patients (8% vs. 1%, P = 0.002). There was a trend toward a lower risk of relapse for EML patients (5-year cumulative incidence of relapse 33% vs. 49%, P = 0.16). Traumatic lumbar puncture did not adversely affect survival in this cohort.

Conclusions: EML was associated with increased risk of induction death impacting the OS. No patients relapsed at the primary site of the myeloid sarcoma despite management without radiotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.26520DOI Listing
December 2017

Effect of age and body weight on toxicity and survival in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia: results from NOPHO-AML 2004.

Haematologica 2016 11 28;101(11):1359-1367. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Department of Pediatrics, Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, Denmark.

Treatment for pediatric acute myeloid leukemia is very toxic and the association between outcome and age and Body Mass Index is unclear. We investigated effect of age and Body Mass Index on toxicity and survival in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia. We studied all patients who completed first induction course of NOPHO-AML 2004 (n=318). Toxicity following induction and consolidation courses (n=6) was analyzed. The probabilities of toxicity and death were determined using time-to-event analyses with Cox multivariate proportional hazard regression for comparative analyses. Age 10-17 years was associated with sepsis with hypotension [hazard ratio 2.3 (95% confidence interval 1.1-4.6)]. Being overweight (>1 standard deviation) was associated with requiring supplemental oxygen [1.9 (1.0-3.5)]. The 5-year event-free and overall survival were 47% and 71%. Children aged 10-17 years showed a trend for inferior 5-year overall survival compared to children aged 2-9 (64% vs. 76%; P=0.07). Infants showed a trend for superior 5-year event-free survival (66% vs. 43%; P=0.06). Overweight children aged 10-17 years showed a trend for superior survival [5-year event-free survival 59% vs. 40% (P=0.09) and 5-year overall survival 78% vs. 56% (P=0.06)] compared to healthy weight children aged 10-17 years. In conclusion, children aged 10-17 years and overweight children had a higher risk of grade 3-4 toxicity. Children aged 10-17 years showed inferior survival, but, unexpectedly, in this age group overweight children tended to have increased survival. This suggests different pharmacokinetics of chemotherapeutic drugs in adolescents and warrants further studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2016.146175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394883PMC
November 2016

Trisomy 8 in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia: A NOPHO-AML study.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2016 09 23;55(9):719-26. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Department of Pediatrics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Trisomy 8 (+8) is a common cytogenetic aberration in acute myeloid leukemia (AML); however, the impact of +8 in pediatric AML is largely unknown. We retrospectively investigated 609 patients from the NOPHO-AML database to determine the clinical and cytogenetic characteristics of +8 in pediatric AML and to investigate its prognostic impact. Complete cytogenetic data were available in 596 patients (98%) aged 0-18 years, diagnosed from 1993 to 2012, and treated according to the NOPHO-AML 1993 and 2004 protocols in the Nordic countries and Hong Kong. We identified 86 patients (14%) with +8. Trisomy 8 was combined with other cytogenetic aberrations in 68 patients (11%) (+8 other) and in 18 patients (3%), it was the sole abnormality (+8 alone). Trisomy 8 was associated with FAB M5 (36%) but otherwise clinically comparable with non-trisomy 8 patients. Trisomy 8 was favorable in patients of young age and with t(9;11). Trisomy 8 alone was associated with older age (median age 10.1 years), FAB M2 (33%), and FLT3-ITD mutations (58%). The 5-year event-free survival for patients with +8 alone was 50% and 5-year overall survival was 75%. In conclusion, +8 is one of the most common cytogenetic aberrations in pediatric AML. Trisomy 8 positive AML is a heterogeneous group and the majority of cases have additional cytogenetic aberrations. Patients with +8 alone differed from patients with +8 other and were associated with older age, FAB M2, and FLT3-ITD aberrations. There were no differences in survival despite the more frequent occurrence of FLT3-ITD in +8 alone. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22373DOI Listing
September 2016

Residual disease detected by flow cytometry is an independent predictor of survival in childhood acute myeloid leukaemia; results of the NOPHO-AML 2004 study.

Br J Haematol 2016 Aug 13;174(4):600-9. Epub 2016 Apr 13.

Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Early response after induction is a prognostic factor for disease outcome in childhood acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Residual disease (RD) detection by multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC) was performed at day 15 and before consolidation therapy in 101 patients enrolled in the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haemato-Oncology AML 2004 study. A multicentre laboratory approach to RD analysis was used. Event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) was significantly different in patients with and without RD at both time points, using a 0·1% RD cut-off level. RD-negative and -positive patients after first induction showed a 5-year EFS of 65 ± 7% and 22 ± 7%, respectively (P < 0·001) and an OS of 77 ± 6% (P = 0·025) and 51 ± 8%. RD-negative and -positive patients at start of consolidation therapy had a 5-year EFS of 57 ± 7% and 11 ± 7%, respectively (P < 0·001) and an OS of 78 ± 6% and 28 ± 11%) (P < 0·001). In multivariate analysis only RD was significantly correlated with survival. RD before consolidation therapy was the strongest independent prognostic factor for EFS [hazard ratio (HR):5·0; 95% confidence interval (CI):1·9-13·3] and OS (HR:7·0; 95%CI:2·0-24·5). In conclusion, RD before consolidation therapy identifies patients at high risk of relapse in need of intensified treatment. In addition, RD detection can be performed in a multicentre setting and can be implemented in future trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.14093DOI Listing
August 2016

Relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the Nordic countries: prognostic factors, treatment and outcome.

Haematologica 2016 Jan 22;101(1):68-76. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden Childhood Cancer Research Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Relapse is the main reason for treatment failure in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Despite improvements in the up-front therapy, survival after relapse is still relatively poor, especially for high-risk relapses. The aims of this study were to assess outcomes following acute lymphoblastic leukemia relapse after common initial Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology protocol treatment; to validate currently used risk stratifications, and identify additional prognostic factors for overall survival. Altogether, 516 of 2735 patients (18.9%) relapsed between 1992 and 2011 and were included in the study. There were no statistically significant differences in outcome between the up-front protocols or between the relapse protocols used, but an improvement over time was observed. The 5-year overall survival for patients relapsing in the period 2002-2011 was 57.5±3.4%, but 44.7±3.2% (P<0.001) if relapse occurred in the period 1992-2001. Factors independently predicting mortality after relapse included short duration of first remission, bone marrow involvement, age ten years or over, unfavorable cytogenetics, and Down syndrome. T-cell immunophenotype was not an independent prognostic factor unless in combination with hyperleukocytosis at diagnosis. The outcome for early combined pre-B relapses was unexpectedly poor (5-year overall survival 38.0±10.6%), which supports the notion that these patients need further risk adjustment. Although survival outcomes have improved over time, the development of novel approaches is urgently needed to increase survival in relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2015.131680DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4697893PMC
January 2016

The applicability of the WHO classification in paediatric AML. A NOPHO-AML study.

Br J Haematol 2015 Jun 29;169(6):859-67. Epub 2015 Mar 29.

Department of Paediatrics, Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classification of myeloid leukaemia was revised in 2008. It incorporates newly recognized entities and emphasizes the pivotal role of cytogenetic abnormalities. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usability of the WHO classification when applied to a large population-based paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cohort. We included children diagnosed with de novo AML, 0-18 years of age from the Nordic countries and Hong Kong from 1993 to 2012. Data were retrieved from the Nordic Society for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology AML database and patients classified according to the WHO 2008 classification. A successful karyotype was available in 97% of the cases. AML with recurrent genetic abnormalities were present in 262 (41%) and 94 (15%) were classified as AML with myelodysplasia-related changes (AML-MDS). WHO classifies patients with monosomy 7 and del(7q) into one group. We found that -7 (n = 14) had significantly poorer outcome than del(7q) (n = 11); 5-year event-free survival 26% vs. 67%, (P = 0·02), and 5-year overall survival 51% vs. 90%, (P = 0·04). The largest group was the highly heterogeneous AML not otherwise specified (NOS) (n = 280) (44%). In conclusion, the WHO classification allocated 15% to AML-MDS, 44% to NOS and grouped together entities with clearly different outcome, therefore limiting the applicability of the current WHO classification in children with AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13366DOI Listing
June 2015

DNA methylation-based subtype prediction for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Clin Epigenetics 2015 17;7:11. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular Medicine and Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University, Box 1432, BMC, SE-751 44 Uppsala, Sweden.

Background: We present a method that utilizes DNA methylation profiling for prediction of the cytogenetic subtypes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells from pediatric ALL patients. The primary aim of our study was to improve risk stratification of ALL patients into treatment groups using DNA methylation as a complement to current diagnostic methods. A secondary aim was to gain insight into the functional role of DNA methylation in ALL.

Results: We used the methylation status of ~450,000 CpG sites in 546 well-characterized patients with T-ALL or seven recurrent B-cell precursor ALL subtypes to design and validate sensitive and accurate DNA methylation classifiers. After repeated cross-validation, a final classifier was derived that consisted of only 246 CpG sites. The mean sensitivity and specificity of the classifier across the known subtypes was 0.90 and 0.99, respectively. We then used DNA methylation classification to screen for subtype membership of 210 patients with undefined karyotype (normal or no result) or non-recurrent cytogenetic aberrations ('other' subtype). Nearly half (n = 106) of the patients lacking cytogenetic subgrouping displayed highly similar methylation profiles as the patients in the known recurrent groups. We verified the subtype of 20% of the newly classified patients by examination of diagnostic karyotypes, array-based copy number analysis, and detection of fusion genes by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq). Using RNA-seq data from ALL patients where cytogenetic subtype and DNA methylation classification did not agree, we discovered several novel fusion genes involving ETV6, RUNX1, and PAX5.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that DNA methylation profiling contributes to the clarification of the heterogeneity in cytogenetically undefined ALL patient groups and could be implemented as a complementary method for diagnosis of ALL. The results of our study provide clues to the origin and development of leukemic transformation. The methylation status of the CpG sites constituting the classifiers also highlight relevant biological characteristics in otherwise unclassified ALL patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-014-0039-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4343276PMC
March 2015

Myelotoxicity after high-dose methotrexate in childhood acute leukemia is influenced by 6-mercaptopurine dosing but not by intermediate thiopurine methyltransferase activity.

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2015 Jan 28;75(1):59-66. Epub 2014 Oct 28.

Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Purpose: Through enhancement of 6-mercaptopurine (6MP) bioavailability and inhibition of purine de novo synthesis, high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) may increase incorporation into DNA of 6-thioguanine nucleotides, the cytotoxic metabolites of 6MP. Patients with intermediate activity of thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT(IA)) have higher cytosol 6-thioguanine nucleotide levels. We investigated toxicity following HD-MTX during MTX/6MP maintenance therapy in relation to 6MP and TPMT.

Methods: Using linear mixed models, we explored myelo- and hepatotoxicity in relation to 6MP dosage and TPMT phenotype following 1,749 HD-MTX courses to 411 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on maintenance therapy.

Results: The degree of myelosuppression following HD-MTX was similar for patients with TPMT(IA) and patients with high TPMT activity (TPMT(HA)), when HD-MTX started with same blood counts and 6MP doses. However, since TPMT(IA) had lower blood counts at initiation of HD-MTX compared with TPMT(HA) patients (median WBC 2.8 vs. 3.3 × 10⁹/L, P = 0.01; median ANC 1.4 vs. 1.7 × 10⁹/L, P = 0.02), TPMT(IA) continued to have lower WBC and ANC levels compared with TPMT(HA) during all 28 days after HD-MTX [relative difference 9 % (95 % CI 2-17), P = 0.02 and 21 % (95 % CI 6-39), P = 0.005]. Still, the fractional decrease in WBC and ANC levels after HD-MTX did not differ between TPMT(IA) and TPMT(HA) patients (P = 0.47; P = 0.38). The degree of leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia and rise in aminotransferases were all significantly related to 6MP dose (P < 0.001 for all analyses).

Conclusion: For both TPMT(IA) and TPMT(HA) patients, dose of 6MP prior to HD-MTX should be guided by pre-HD-MTX blood counts, but not by TPMT activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00280-014-2613-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446052PMC
January 2015

Cerebral sinus venous thromboses in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia - a multicentre study from the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology.

Br J Haematol 2015 Feb 7;168(4):547-52. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Childhood Cancer Research Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

We present a prospective multicentre cohort of 20 children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and cerebral sinus venous thrombosis (CSVT). The study covers a period of 5 years and comprises 1038 children treated according to the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO) ALL 2008 protocol. The cumulative incidence of CSVT was 2%. Sixteen of the thromboses were related to asparaginase and 16 to steroids. Most CSVTs occurred in the consolidation phase. Nearly all were treated with low molecular weight heparin without bleeding complications. Mortality related to CSVT directly or indirectly was 10%, emphasizing the importance of this complication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13162DOI Listing
February 2015

Ploidy and clinical characteristics of childhood acute myeloid leukemia: A NOPHO-AML study.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2014 Aug 18;53(8):667-75. Epub 2014 Apr 18.

Department of Pediatrics, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark.

We report the first large series (n = 596) of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) focusing on modal numbers (MN) from the population-based NOPHO-AML trials. Abnormal karyotypes were present in 452 cases (76%) and numerical aberrations were present in 40% (n = 237) of all pediatric AML. Among patients with an abnormal karyotype, the MN 46 was most common (n = 251; 56%) of which 36 (8%) were pseudodiploid with numerical aberrations, followed by MN 47 (n = 80; 18%) and MN 43-45 (n = 48; 8%). No cases had MN less than 43. Hyperdiploid AML with MN 48-65 comprised 11% of all cases and was associated with early onset (median age 2 years), female sex (57%), and a dominance of acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) (29%). Hypodiploidy constituted 8% of all AML and was associated with older age (median age 9 years), male predominance (60%), FAB M2 (56%), and t(8;21)(q22;q22) (56%) with loss of sex chromosomes. Inferior outcome was observed for hypodiploid cases (5-year event-free survival 40% and 5-year overall survival 40%) but did not reach statistical significance. Chromosomes were gained in a nonrandom pattern, where chromosomes 8, 21, 19, and 6 were the most commonly gained. In conclusion, based on MNs, two cytogenetic subgroups with characteristic clinical features are described; hypodiploidy found in 8% and associated with high median age, male sex, t(8;21)(q22;q22), and FAB M2 and possibly associated with inferior outcome (P = 0.13), and hyperdiploidy with MN 48-65 in 11% associated with early onset, female sex, and AMKL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22177DOI Listing
August 2014

Clinical features and early treatment response of central nervous system involvement in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2014 Aug 12;61(8):1416-21. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Central nervous system (CNS) involvement in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains a therapeutic challenge.

Procedure: To explore leukemia characteristics of patients with CNS involvement at ALL diagnosis, we analyzed clinical features and early treatment response of 744 patients on Nordic-Baltic trials. CNS status was classified as CNS1 (no CSF blasts), CNS2 (<5 leukocytes/µl CSF with blasts), CNS3 (≥5 leukocytes/µl with blasts or signs of CNS involvement), TLP+ (traumatic lumbar puncture with blasts), and TLP- (TLP with no blasts).

Results: Patients with CNS involvement had higher leukocyte count compared with patients with CNS1 (P < 0.002). Patients with CNS3 more often had T-ALL (P < 0.001) and t(9;22)(q34;q11)[BCR-ABL1] (P < 0.004) compared with patients with CNS1. Among patients with CNS involvement headache (17%) and vomiting (14%) were most common symptoms. Symptoms or clinical findings were present among 27 of 54 patients with CNS3 versus only 7 of 39 patients with CNS2 and 15 of 75 patients with TLP+ (P < 0.001). The majority of patients with CNS involvement received additional induction therapy. The post induction bone marrow residual disease level did not differ between patients with CNS involvement and patients with CNS1 (P > 0.15). The 12-year event-free survival for patients with leukemic mass on neuroimaging did not differ from patients with negative or no scan (0.50 vs. 0.60; P = 0.7) or between patients with symptoms or signs suggestive of CNS leukemia and patients without such characteristics (0.50 vs. 0.61; P = 0.2).

Conclusion: CNS involvement at diagnosis is associated with adverse prognostic features but does not indicate a less chemosensitive leukemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.24981DOI Listing
August 2014

The circadian schedule for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia maintenance therapy does not influence event-free survival in the NOPHO ALL92 protocol.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2014 Apr 22;61(4):653-8. Epub 2013 Nov 22.

Clinic for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The Juliane Marie Centre, The University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: The event-free survival of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has been reported to be superior when oral methotrexate (MTX) and 6-mercaptopurine (6MP) maintenance therapy (MT) is administered in the evening compared to the morning.

Procedure: In the ALL92 MT study we prospectively registered the intake of MTX/6MP. The registration was done when blood samples for erythrocyte MTX/6MP metabolite measurements were collected, and referred to the time of intake in the period since last registration. Nine thousand one hundred ninety-five registrations in total. The administration of MTX/6MP was scored as morning, midday, or evening.

Results: Of 532 patients, 296 took their medication consistently in the evening, 129 in the evening 50.0-99.9% of the time, and 101 in the evening <50% of the time, six did not have any registrations. The circadian schedule did not differ significantly by age, sex, MTX/6MP doses, and average absolute neutrophil counts. The circadian schedule groups did differ on risk groups (P = 0.003) with fewer HR patients in the 50-99.9% group, and there was a negative correlation between percentage of time on evening schedule and average WBC (Spearman's rho -0.15; P = 0.0004). Average WBC was not associated with relapse on ALL92. In a Cox multivariate model the circadian schedule of MTX/6MP was not of prognostic significance for the risk of relapse, and the 10-year cumulative relapse risk was below 20% in all groups.

Conclusion: An evening schedule may still be recommended based on the previous publications, but in this study morning administration of MTX and 6MP does not seem to impact EFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.24867DOI Listing
April 2014

Genome-wide signatures of differential DNA methylation in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Genome Biol 2013 Sep 24;14(9):r105. Epub 2013 Sep 24.

Background: Although aberrant DNA methylation has been observed previously in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the patterns of differential methylation have not been comprehensively determined in all subtypes of ALL on a genome-wide scale. The relationship between DNA methylation, cytogenetic background, drug resistance and relapse in ALL is poorly understood.

Results: We surveyed the DNA methylation levels of 435,941 CpG sites in samples from 764 children at diagnosis of ALL and from 27 children at relapse. This survey uncovered four characteristic methylation signatures. First, compared with control blood cells, the methylomes of ALL cells shared 9,406 predominantly hypermethylated CpG sites, independent of cytogenetic background. Second, each cytogenetic subtype of ALL displayed a unique set of hyper- and hypomethylated CpG sites. The CpG sites that constituted these two signatures differed in their functional genomic enrichment to regions with marks of active or repressed chromatin. Third, we identified subtype-specific differential methylation in promoter and enhancer regions that were strongly correlated with gene expression. Fourth, a set of 6,612 CpG sites was predominantly hypermethylated in ALL cells at relapse, compared with matched samples at diagnosis. Analysis of relapse-free survival identified CpG sites with subtype-specific differential methylation that divided the patients into different risk groups, depending on their methylation status.

Conclusions: Our results suggest an important biological role for DNA methylation in the differences between ALL subtypes and in their clinical outcome after treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2013-14-9-r105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014804PMC
September 2013

Outcome of poor response paediatric AML using early SCT.

Eur J Haematol 2013 Mar 20;90(3):187-94. Epub 2013 Jan 20.

Department of Paediatrics, The University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Children with poor response acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) generally have a very poor outcome. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) is often recommended for these children but the benefit is unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate survival for poor response AML patients treated with SCT.

Material And Methods: Treatment was given according to the NOPHO-AML 2004 protocol. All patients received AIET (Cytarabine, Idarubicin, Etoposide, Thioguanine) and AM (Cytarabine, Mitoxantrone) as induction. We included poor response defined as > 15% blasts on day 15 after AIET (n = 17) or > 5% blasts after AM (n = 14, refractory disease). Poor response patients received intensively timed induction and proceeded to SCT when a donor was available.

Results: Thirty-one of 267 evaluable patients (12%) had a poor response. SCT was performed in 25; using matched unrelated donors in 13, matched sibling donors in 6, cord blood donor in 4, and haploidentical donor in two. The median follow-up for the 31 poor responding patients was 2.6 years (range 0.4 - 8.1 years) and 3-year probability of survival 70% (95% CI 59-77%).

Conclusions: The poor responders in the NOPHO-AML 2004 protocol had a favourable prognosis treated with time-intensive induction followed by SCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.12051DOI Listing
March 2013