We examined the influence of mutations and karyotype on conventional treatment response, specifically hematological improvement in anemia, in primary myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Cytogenetic and next generation sequencing (NGS)-derived mutation information was available in 357 patients (median age 74 years; 70% males); the revised international prognostic scoring system risk distribution was very high in 11%, high 15%, intermediate 17%, low 40% and very low 16%. At least one mutation was detected in 81% of patients; most frequent were SF3B1 (32%), ASXL1 (27%), TET2 (24%) and U2AF1 (15%). At median follow-up of 24 months, treatment with hypomethylating agents (HMAs) was documented in 121 (34%) patients, lenalidomide (LEN) in 55 (15%), and erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) in 136 (38%). ASXL1 mutations adversely affected response to HMAs (27% vs 48%; P = 0.02) and LEN (9% vs 43%; P = 0.04), but not ESAs (P = 0.6). LEN response was also adversely affected by U2AF1 mutations (0% vs 42%; P = 0.02) and high risk karyotype (0% vs 41% in intermediate vs 47% in low risk; P = 0.01). Patients with SF3B1 mutations were more likely to respond to LEN (56% vs 27%; P = 0.04). Contrary to previous reports, we found no association between TET2 mutations and HMA treatment response (40% vs 41%; P = 0.9), even in the absence of ASXL1 mutations (P = 0.4).We conclude that ASXL1 mutations in MDS predict inferior response to treatment with both HMAs and LEN; response to LEN was also compromised by U2AF1 mutations and high risk karyotype; SF3B1 mutations identified patients likely to respond to LEN.
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