A simple, robust, validated and highly predictive index for the determination of risk-directed therapy in acute myeloid leukaemia derived from the MRC AML 10 trial


Dr Keith Wheatley University of Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit, Institute of Clinical Research, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT.


Data on 1711 patients, aged up to 55 years, in the MRC AML 10 trial were used to create a prognostic index for use in risk-directed therapy decision making for younger patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Two parameters, response after course 1 and cytogenetics, were strongly predictive of outcome. For patients with complete remission, partial remission and resistant disease, 5-year survival from the start of course 2 was 53%, 44% and 22% and relapse rates were 46%, 48% and 69% respectively, and for patients with favourable, intermediate and adverse karyotypic abnormalities, survival was 72%, 43% and 17% and relapse rates were 34%, 51% and 75% respectively (all P < 0.0001). Patients with FAB type M3 but no cytogenetic t(15;17) also had a low relapse rate (29%). These three factors were combined to give three risk groups: good (favourable karyotype or M3, irrespective of response status or presence of additional abnormalities), standard (neither good nor poor), poor (adverse karyotype or resistant disease, and no good-risk features). Survival for these three groups was 70%, 48% and 15% respectively and relapse rates were 33%. 50% and 78% (both P < 0.0001). The index is simple (based on just three parameters), robust (derived from 1711 patients), highly discriminatory (55% survival difference between good and poor risk) and validated, so can be applied in the clinical setting to assist with therapeutic decisions as in the current AML 12 trial.