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Haematologica. 2012 Nov;97(11):1743-50. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2011.059584. Epub 2012 May 11.

Excellent prognosis of late relapses of ETV6/RUNX1-positive childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: lessons from the FRALLE 93 protocol.

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Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University Hospital of Rennes, France.



The prognosis of patients with relapses of ETV6/RUNX1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia remains to be evaluated, particularly with regards to the frequency of late relapses. We performed a long-term, follow-up retrospective study to address the outcome of patients with ETV6/RUNX1-positive leukemia relapses.


Among the 713 children tested for ETV6/RUNX1 enrolled into the FRALLE 93 protocol, 43 ETV6/RUNX1-positive patients relapsed (19.4%). Most were initially stratified in the low or intermediate risk groups. The median follow-up after relapse was 54.2 months. All but three received second-line salvage therapy and 16 underwent allogeneic transplantation.


ETV6/RUNX1 had a strong effect on overall survival after relapse (3-year survival= 64.7% for positive cases versus 46.5% for negative cases) (P=0.007). The 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse was 19.4% and testes were more frequently involved in ETV6/RUNX1-positive relapses (P=0.04). In 81.4% of cases the relapses were late, early combined or isolated extramedullary relapses. The 5-year survival rate of patients with ETV6-RUNX1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia relapses reached 80.8% when the relapse occurred after 36 months (versus 31.2% when the relapse occurred earlier). In univariate analysis, female gender was associated with a poor survival, whereas site of relapse, age at diagnosis, leukocytosis and consolidation strategy had no effect. In multivariate analysis, only the duration of first remission remained associated with outcome.


We found an excellent outcome for patients with ETV6/RUNX1-positive leukemia relapses that occurred more than 36 months after diagnosis. The duration of first complete remission may, therefore, be a guide to define the treatment strategy for patients with relapsed ETV6/RUNX1- positive leukemia.

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