Patients with relapsed or refractory T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) or lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) have limited therapeutic options. Clinical use of genomic profiling provides an opportunity to identify targetable alterations to inform therapy.

Experimental Design:

We describe a cohort of 14 pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory T-ALL enrolled on the Leukemia Precision-based Therapy (LEAP) Consortium trial (NCT02670525) and a patient with T-LBL, discovering alterations in platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α (PDGFRA) in 3 of these patients. We identified a novel mutation in PDGFRA, p.D842N, and used an integrated structural modeling and molecular biology approach to characterize mutations at D842 to guide therapeutic targeting. We conducted a preclinical study of avapritinib in a mouse patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of FIP1L1-PDGFRA and PDGFRA p.D842N leukemia.


Two patients with T-ALL in the LEAP cohort (14%) had targetable genomic alterations affecting PDGFRA, a FIP1-like 1 protein/PDGFRA (FIP1L1-PDGFRA) fusion and a novel mutation in PDGFRA, p.D842N. The D842N mutation resulted in PDGFRA activation and sensitivity to tested PDGFRA inhibitors. In a T-ALL PDX model, avapritinib treatment led to decreased leukemia burden, significantly prolonged survival, and even cured a subset of mice. Avapritinib treatment was well tolerated and yielded clinical benefit in a patient with refractory T-ALL.


Refractory T-ALL has not been fully characterized. Alterations in PDGFRA or other targetable kinases may inform therapy for patients with refractory T-ALL who otherwise have limited treatment options. Clinical genomic profiling, in real time, is needed for fully informed therapeutic decision making.

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