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Blood. 2001 Jan 1;97(1):89-94.

Prevalence and prognostic significance of Flt3 internal tandem duplication in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia.

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  • 1The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98103, USA. smeshinc@fhcrc.org


The Flt3 gene encodes a tyrosine kinase receptor that regulates proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells. An internal tandem duplication of the Flt3 gene (Flt3/ITD) has been reported in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and may be associated with poor prognosis. We analyzed diagnostic bone marrow specimens from 91 pediatric patients with AML treated on Children's Cancer Group (CCG)-2891 for the presence of the Flt3/ITD and correlated its presence with clinical outcome. Fifteen of 91 samples (16.5%) were positive for the Flt3/ITD. Flt3/ITD-positive patients had a median diagnostic white count of 73 800 compared with 28 400 for the Flt3/ITD-negative patients (P =.05). The size of the duplication ranged from 21 to 174 base pairs (bp). Nucleotide sequencing of the abnormal polymerase chain reaction products demonstrated that all duplications involved exon 11 of the Flt3 gene and also preserved the reading frame. Lineage restriction analysis revealed that Flt3/ITD was not present in the lymphocytes, suggesting a lack of stem cell involvement for this mutation. None of the Flt3/ITD-positive patients had unfavorable cytogenetic markers, and there was no predominance of a particular FAB class. The remission induction rate was 40% in Flt3/ITD-positive patients compared with 74% in Flt3/ITD-negative ones (P =.005). The Kaplan-Meier estimates of event-free survival at 8 years for patients with and without Flt3/ITD were 7% and 44%, respectively (P =.002). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that presence of the Flt3/ITD was the single most significant, independent prognostic factor for poor outcome (P =.009) in pediatric AML.

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