Retinal abnormalities (RA) are very frequently observed in adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but the clinical significance of these findings has not been fully investigated. We examined the fundus oculi in a cohort of 122 adult patients with AML at presentation and analyzed some clinical and biological features to assess whether there was any association with RA. For this purpose, we subdivided the patients into two groups according to the presence or absence of RA (groups 1 and 2, respectively). We considered current laboratory parameters such as white blood cell (WBC) count, hemoglobin (Hb), platelets and serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Moreover, we subdivided the patients into two groups according to age <60 (group A) or ≧60 years (group B) to evaluate a possible association between RA and response to treatment and/or overall survival (OS). In our series, a higher median age and a lower Hb value were associated with group 1 (p = 0.001 and p = 0.04, respectively); the median LDH value was 812 U/l (range 224–5,551) and 607 (range 181–5,244) for groups 1 and 2, respectively (p = 0.02). There was no association between RA and karyotypic alterations. In terms of outcome, in group A (<60 years), 80% patients who achieved complete remission (CR) were in group 2 vs. 13% nonresponders (NR) (p < 0.0001). Median OS of group 2 patients was 49.7 months compared with 7.2 months for those in group 1 (p = 0.002). In group B, 58% patients who achieved CR were in group 1 vs. 15% NR (p < 0.006). Median OS of patients in group 2 was 14.6 months compared with 2.9 months in group 1 (p = 0.02). Our data show that RA are significantly associated with some biological features and with shorter OS in AML patients and this parameter seems to be an effective clinical sign of poor prognosis in terms of CR.

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