Bone Marrow Surveillance of Pediatric Cancer Survivors Identifies Clones that Predict Therapy-Related Leukemia

Barbara Spitzer, Kayleigh D. Rutherford, Gunes Gundem, Erin M. McGovern, Nathan E. Millard, Juan E.Ossa Arango, Irene Y. Cheung, Teng Gao, Max F. Levine, Yanming Zhang, Juan S. Medina-Martínez, Yi Feng, Ryan N. Ptashkin, Kelly L. Bolton, Noushin Farnoud, Yangyu Zhou, Minal A. Patel, Georgios Asimomitis, Cassidy C. Cobbs, Neeman MohibullahKety H. Huberman, Maria E. Arcilla, Brian H. Kushner, Shakeel Modak, Andrew L. Kung, Ahmet Zehir, Ross L. Levine, Scott A. Armstron, Nai Kong V. Cheung, Elli Papaemmanuil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome and acute leukemias (t-MDS/AL) are a major cause of nonrelapse mortality among pediatric cancer survivors. Although the presence of clonal hematopoiesis (CH) in adult patients at cancer diagnosis has been implicated in t-MDS/AL, there is limited published literature describing t-MDS/AL development in children. Experimental Design: We performed molecular characterization of 199 serial bone marrow samples from 52 patients treated for high-risk neuroblastoma, including 17 with t-MDS/AL (transformation), 14 with transient cytogenetic abnormalities (transient), and 21 without t-MDS/AL or cytogenetic alterations (neuroblastoma-treated control). We also evaluated for CH in a cohort of 657 pediatric patients with solid tumor. Results: We detected at least one disease-defining alteration in all cases at t-MDS/AL diagnosis, most commonly TP53 mutations and KMT2A rearrangements, including involving two novel partner genes (PRDM10 and DDX6). Backtracking studies identified at least one t-MDS/AL-associated mutation in 13 of 17 patients at a median of 15 months before t-MDS/AL diagnosis (range, 1.3-32.4). In comparison, acquired mutations were infrequent in the transient and control groups (4/14 and 1/21, respectively). The relative risk for development of t-MDS/AL in the presence of an oncogenic mutation was 8.8 for transformation patients compared with transient. Unlike CH in adult oncology patients, TP53 mutations were only detectable after initiation of cancer therapy. Last, only 1% of pediatric patients with solid tumor evaluated had CH involving myeloid genes. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the clinical relevance of identifying molecular abnormalities in predicting development of t-MDS/AL and should guide the formation of intervention protocols to prevent this complication in high-risk pediatric patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1614-1627
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2022


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