RAS pathway alterations have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various hematological malignancies. However, their clinical relevance in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is not well characterized. We analyzed the frequency, clinical significance, and prognostic relevance of RAS pathway alterations in 328 pediatric patients with de novo AML. RAS pathway alterations were detected in 80 (24.4%) out of 328 patients: NF1 (n = 7, 2.1%), PTPN11 (n = 15, 4.6%), CBL (n = 6, 1.8%), NRAS (n = 44, 13.4%), KRAS (n = 12, 3.7%). Most of these alterations were mutually exclusive and were also mutually exclusive with other aberrations of signal transduction pathways such as FLT3-ITD (p = 0.001) and KIT mutation (p = 0.004). NF1 alterations were frequently detected in patients with complex karyotype (p = 0.031) and were found to be independent predictors of poor overall survival (OS) in multivariate analysis (p = 0.007). At least four of seven patients with NF1 alterations had bi-allelic inactivation. NRAS mutations were frequently observed in patients with CBFB-MYH11 and were independent predictors of favorable outcomes in multivariate analysis [OS, p = 0.023; event-free survival (EFS), p = 0.037]. Patients with PTPN11 mutations more frequently received stem cell transplantation (p = 0.035) and showed poor EFS than patients without PTPN11 mutations (p = 0.013). Detailed analysis of RAS pathway alterations may enable a more accurate prognostic stratification of pediatric AML and may provide novel therapeutic molecular targets related to this signal transduction pathway.
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