Controversy exists whether internal tandem duplication of FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3-internal tandem duplication [ITD]) allelic ratio (AR) and/or length of the ITD should be taken into account for risk stratification of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and whether it should be measured on RNA or DNA. Moreover, the ITD status may be of relevance for selecting patients eligible for FLT3 inhibitors. Here, we included 172 pediatric AML patients, of whom 36 (21%) harbored FLT3-ITD as determined on both RNA and DNA. Although there was a good correlation between both parameters ARspearman 5 0.62 (95% confidence interval, 0.22-0.87) and ITDlengthspearman 5 0.98 (95% confidence interval, 0.90-1.00), only AR ‡ 0.5 and length ‡48 base pairs (bps) based on RNA measurements were significantly associated with overall survival (AR: Plogrank 5 .008; ITDlength: Plogrank 5 .011). In large ITDs (>156 bp on DNA) a remarkable 90-bp difference exists between DNA and RNA, including intron 14, which is spliced out in RNA. Ex vivo exposure (n 5 30) to FLT3 inhibitors, in particular to the FLT3-specific inhibitor gilteritinib, showed that colony-forming capacity was significantly more reduced in FLT3-ITD-AR ‡ 0.5 compared with ITD-AR-low and ITD2 patient samples (P < .001). RNA-based FLT3-ITD measurements are recommended for risk stratification, and the relevance of AR regarding eligibility for FLT3-targeted therapy warrants further study.

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Cucchi, D.G.J. (David G. J.), Denys, B, Kaspers, G.J, Janssen, J.J.W.M, Ossenkoppele, G.J, Haas, V.D. (Valérie de), … Cloos, J. (2018). RNA-based FLT3-ITD allelic ratio is associated with outcome and ex vivo response to FLT3 inhibitors in pediatric AML. Blood, 131(22), 2485–2489. doi:10.1182/blood-2017-12-819508