Normal karyotype in therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML) is rare and the relative contribution of prior exposure to chemotherapy or radiotherapy to outcomes in these patients remains uncertain. We performed a retrospective study of 742 patients with newly diagnosed AML and normal karyotype (t-AML, n = 61, and non-t-AML, n = 681). Patients with t-AML were older but had a similar mutational profile compared to those with non-t-AML. Overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS) were significantly worse for patients with t-AML (P < 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively). Patients with t-AML had a higher cumulative incidence of death in remission (51% versus 16%, P < 0.01), but not higher cumulative incidence of relapse (42% versus 56%, respectively, P = 0.21). Both intensive induction and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in first remission were associated with improved OS and RFS in non-t-AML but not in t-AML. Overall, although disease biology appears similar between t-AML and non-t-AML with normal karyotype as indicated by similar risks of relapse, death in remission is the main driver of inferior outcome in t-AML. Careful therapeutic decisions are required to mitigate potential treatment-related toxicity in this rare subgroup of patients with t-AML and normal karyotype.
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