The 2008 World Health Organization (WHO) classification system grouped bilineal and biphenotypic acute leukemias together under a new heading of mixed phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL). The lineage-specific marker criteria have also changed for a diagnosis of MPAL. The goal of this study was to characterize clinical significance of this new group.
Sixty-one patients diagnosed with MPAL using either European Group for the Immunological Classification of Leukaemias (EGIL) criteria or 2008 WHO criteria were included in this study.
Sixteen patients (26%) diagnosed with acute biphenotypic leukemia using EGIL criteria did not fulfill 2008 WHO criteria for MPAL. Cytogenetic data were available for 32 patients, and the most common abnormality was t(9;22) (five of 32 cases). Clinical outcome data suggested that younger patients with MPAL (≤21 years) had better overall survival (OS) in both the EGIL and WHO groups (EGIL, P = .0403; WHO, P = .0601). Compared with 177 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), MPAL patients had better OS (P = .0003) and progression-free survival (P = .0001). However, no difference in OS between MPAL and 387 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia was present (P = .599).
As defined by the 2008 WHO classification, fewer patients are now classified as having MPAL than with the EGIL criteria. In this study, patients with MPAL have a better clinical outcome compared with patients with AML.