Time to repeal and replace response criteria for acute myeloid leukemia?

Bloomfield CD, Estey E, Pleyer L, Schuh AC, Stein EM, Tallman MS, Wei A
Blood Rev 32 416-425 01/01/2018


The International Working Group (IWG) response criteria for acute myeloid leukemia, published in 2003, have remained the standard by which the efficacy of new drugs is measured in clinical trials. Over the last decade, concepts related to treatment response have been challenged by several factors; for example, the dissociation between early clinical response and survival outcome in older patients, the recognition that epigenetic and newer differentiating-agent therapies may produce delayed responses and also hematologic improvement/transfusion independence without a morphologic response, and evidence that remissions without minimal (or measurable) residual disease (MRD) may result in outcomes superior to those of morphologic remissions with persistent MRD. The evolving role of MRD status as a potential surrogate for predicting long-term survival has enhanced the clinical need to standardize and incorporate emerging technologies that enable deeper responses beyond those recognized by the IWG, and to pre-emptively identify patients at risk of early relapse. The potential for therapeutic interventions to erase MRD and alter the natural history represents an important and open research question. Reviewed here are some of the implications and challenges associated with establishing and incorporating new treatment response criteria, initially into clinical research, and eventually into real-world practice.

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