© 2019, Springer Nature Limited. Complex karyotype (CK) with ≥ 3 abnormalities is detected in 10–12% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and associated with poor prognosis. The most common unbalanced abnormalities found in CK result in loss of material from the 5q, 7q, and/or 17p chromosome arms. The presence of 5q, 7q, and/or 17p abnormalities denotes typical CK and their absence denotes atypical CK. Since molecular features of CK-AML are not well characterized, we investigated mutational status of 81 leukemia/cancer-associated genes in 160 clinically well-characterized patients. They included 136 patients with ≥ 3 exclusively unbalanced chromosome abnormalities, 96 of whom had a typical CK and 40 atypical CK, and 24 patients with ≥ 1 balanced abnormality in addition to ≥ 2 unbalanced ones. Patients with atypical CK-AML differed from those with typical CK-AML: they carried TP53 mutations less often (P < 0.001) and more often PHF6 (P = 0.008), FLT3-TKD (P = 0.02), MED12 (P = 0.02), and NPM1 (P = 0.02) mutations. They were younger (P = 0.007), had higher WBC (P = 0.001) and percentages of marrow (P < 0.001) and blood (P = 0.006) blasts, higher complete remission rates (P = 0.02), and longer overall survival (P < 0.001), thus indicating that atypical and typical CK-AMLs constitute distinct disease subtypes. We also identified smaller patient subsets within both typical and atypical CK-AML that differed molecularly and clinically.
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School of Medicine