Inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFSs) are rare genetic disorders characterized by abnormal hematopoiesis resulting in cytopenias and increased risk of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Once patients develop MDS the only curative therapy is hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). The rate of progression from early MDS to advanced MDS and AML is variable and risk factors for progression in IBMFS patients are poorly defined. We hypothesized that certain variables could predict the likelihood of progression from early stages of IBMFS-associated MDS/clonal hematopoiesis to advanced MDS or AML, and that the type of disease progression may impact overall survival (OS).
Data were collected from patients prospectively enrolled in the Canadian Inherited Marrow Failure Registry (CIMFR), a collaboration of 1 adult and 16 pediatric hospitals in Canada that care for >95% of pediatric IBMFS patients. IBMFS patients were diagnosed as having a specific syndrome or unclassified IBMFS (UCIBMFS) based on published criteria from our lab and others'. Diagnostic criteria for pediatric MDS defined by Hasle et al. were used. Progression of MDS was defined as 1 or more of: (1) a new cytogenetic abnormality, (2) progression in cytopathology from refractory cytopenia (RC) or refractory cytopenia with ringed sideroblasts (RCRS) to refractory cytopenia with dysplasia (RCD), refractory cytopenia with excess blasts (RCEB) or AML, or (3) increased degree of cytopenia severity. Time to progression was described by Kaplan-Meier analysis and risk factors were evaluated using the Cox proportional hazards model.
Of 601 patients enrolled in CIMFR, 59 (9.8%) developed cytogenetic clones/MDS. Thirteen (22%) had Fanconi Anemia (FA), 13 (22%) had Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS), 10 (16.9%) had UCIBMFS, and 23 (39%) had other marrow failure syndromes (i.e. Dyskeratosis Congenita, Severe Congenital Neutropenia, Diamond Blackfan Anemia, GATA2-related disorders). The majority presented with cytogenetic clones/RC (n=45, 76%), 9 (15%) had RCEB, 3 (5%) RCD and 1 (1.7%) RCRS. The most common cytogenetic abnormalities at presentation were -7/-7q (n=18, 30%) and isochromosome 7q10 (n=7, 12%). Four patients had complex cytogenetics (6.8%). Of the patients who developed MDS, 32 (54%) went to HSCT.
Patients who developed MDS had significantly worse OS (HR 3, 95% CI 2 to 6, p<0.0001), which varied by IBMFS category. MDS patients with UCIBMFS had a statistically significant lower OS compared to those without MDS (HR 5.7, 95% CI 1.7 to 18.6, p=0.004). In contrast, patients with FA had poor OS regardless of whether or not they developed MDS.
Twenty four MDS patients (40%) had disease progression, with a median time to progression of 4.7 months (1.14-131). Nine patients (38%) with disease progression had FA, 5 (21%) had SDS, 4 (17%) had UC, and 6 (25%) had other marrow failure syndromes. Ten patients (42%) developed more advanced cytopathology, 10 (42%) a new cytogenetic abnormality, and 5 (20%) worsening cytopenias. Eight patients progressed from RC to RCEB, with a median time to progression of 5.7 months (1.14 to 113). Progression to more advanced cytopathology was associated with lower OS (HR 2.7, 95% CI 1.0 to 7.4, p=0.046). Median time to progression of cytogenetics was 4.13 months (1.14 to 131), which was not predictive of worse OS (p=0.22). Notably, there was no difference in OS or risk of progression between the -7/-7q and isochromosome 7q groups (p=0.644). Finally, patients who progressed due to worsening cytopenias had significantly lower OS compared to those who did not (p=0.011), but numbers were small. Seventeen (71%) of the MDS patients who progressed underwent HSCT.
Development of MDS has a significant adverse impact on the OS of IBMFS patients, with disease progression occurring 4.7 months from MDS diagnosis. Progression to advanced cytopathology is associated with decreased survival, while worsening cytogenetic clones and cytopenias may not carry the same risk. Importantly, isochromosome 7q10 is also associated with a risk of progression to more severe hematological disease, and may have an impact on survival. Further analysis of additional variables (i.e. HSCT) will provide insight into the important predictors of survival and disease progression, and help to guide treatment decisions for this high-risk patient population.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.