Prognostic Significance of Complex Karyotypes in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Yahya Daneshbod, Leila Kohan, Vahideh Taghadosi, Olga K. Weinberg, Daniel A. Arber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with a complex karyotype (CK-AML) show at least 3 unrelated clonal cytogenetic abnormalities with notoriously poor outcome. Such cases fall into either AML with myelodysplasia-related changes or therapy-related AML in the current World Health Organization classification of AML. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is one of the only treatment modalities that can provide a long-term survival benefit and is recommended as a consolidative treatment in patients who are able to achieve complete remission. Unfortunately, transplantation is also associated with a higher relapse rate and more than half of CK-AML patients relapse from disease within the first 2 years. The probability of achieving remission with traditional induction using cytarabine and daunorubicin or idarubicin (“7 + 3”) is so small that investigational therapies should be considered up front in these patients. Less intensive therapeutic backbones, typically using one of the hypomethylating agents, azacitidine or decitabine, minimize toxicity and show a trend toward the improved overall survival. CPX 351 (Vyxeos) is a liposomal formulation of cytarabine and daunorubicin and this encapsulation leads to prolonged exposure to the two drugs. This drug is approved for AML patients with MDS-related changes and therapy-related AML, both of which are frequently associated with complex karyotype. Such patients show improved outcome in trials using this combination. Combination therapy that includes venetoclax (BCL2 inhibitor) with hypomethylating agents may also be appropriate for such patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalCurrent treatment options in oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Complex karyotype
  • Cytogenetic abnormality
  • P53 mutations
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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