Acute myeloid leukemia with inv(16)(p13q22): Involvement of cervical lymph nodes and tonsils is common and may be a negative prognostic sign



Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with inv(16)(p13q22) or the variant t(16;16)(p13;q22), is strongly associated with the FAB subtype M4Eo. A high incidence of CNS involvement was reported in the 1980s, but otherwise little is known about the pattern of extamedullary leukemia (EML) manifestations in this AML type. We have compiled clinical and cytogenetic data on 27 consecutive AML cases with inv(16)/t(16;16) from southern Sweden. In general, these AMLs displayed the clinical features that have previously been described as characteristic for this disease entity: low median age, hyperleukocytosis, M4Eo morphology, and a favorable prognosis. However, CNS leukemia was only seen in relapse in one patient diagnosed in 1980, whereas the most common EML manifestation in our series was lymphadenopathy (5/27, 19%), most often cervical with or without gross tonsillar enlargement. A review of previously published, clinically informative cases corroborates that lymphadenopathy, with preference for the cervical region, is the most common EML at diagnosis in inv(16)-positive AML (58/175, 33%). CNS leukemia, on the other hand, has been reported in only 17% of the cases, mostly in the relapse setting, with a diminishing frequency over time, possibly due to protective effects of high-dose cytarabine. Other reported EML sites include the scalp, ovaries, and the intestine. Cervicotonsillar EML was in our series associated with a shorter duration of first remission, (P < 0.05), and may hence prove to be an important clinical parameter when deciding treatment strategies in AML with inv(16)/t(16;16). Am. J. Hematol. 71:15–19, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.