Complete remission (CR) in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is the primary endpoint for the evaluation of induction treatment and treatment strategies. However, the choice and application of the criteria for a haematological CR can often become a subject of debate because of regeneration more than 5% blasts may be present at the time of response evaluation; platelet and neutrophil recovery may be incomplete and marrow cellularity can vary. This study examined the individual parameters for CR in 1250 adult patients with de novo AML treated according to three successive study protocols. Patients with ≤5% blasts showed the best overall survival (OS) and the lowest relapse risk (RR). This was independent of blast cells present in the peripheral blood or bone marrow (BM) cellularity. In the same patient group, the presence of extramedullary leukaemia, incomplete platelet (<100 × 109/l) or neutrophil (<10 × 109/l) recovery caused a reduced OS and increased RR. In conclusion, ≤5% blasts in the BM, recovery of neutrophils and platelets, and the absence of extramedullary disease constitute the cornerstones for the definition of a haematological CR in patients with AML.

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British Journal of Haematology
Department of Hematology

de Greef, G., van Putten, W., Boogaerts, M., Huijgens, P., Verdonck, L., Vellenga, E., … Löwenberg, B. (2005). Criteria for defining a complete remission in acute myeloid leukaemia revisited. An analysis of patients treated in HOVON-SAKK co-operative group studies. British Journal of Haematology, 128(2), 184–191. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2004.05285.x