PURPOSEThe prognostic significance of ATM mutations in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is unclear. We assessed their impact in the context of a prospective randomized trial. PATIENTS AND METHODSWe analyzed the ATM gene in 224 patients treated on the Leukemia Research Fund Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia 4 (LRF-CLL4) trial with chlorambucil or fludarabine with and without cyclophosphamide. ATM status was analyzed by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography and was related to treatment response, survival, and the impact of TP53 alterations for the same patient cohort.ResultsWe identified 36 ATM mutations in 33 tumors, 16 with and 17 without 11q deletion. Mutations were associated with advanced disease stage and involvement of multiple lymphoid sites. Patients with both ATM mutation and 11q deletion showed significantly reduced progression-free survival (median, 7.4 months) compared with those with ATM wild type (28.6 months), 11q deletion alone (17.1 months), or ATM mutation alone (30.8 months), but survival was similar to that in patients with monoallelic (6.7 months) or biallelic (3.4 months) TP53 alterations. This effect was independent of treatment, immunoglobulin heavy chain variable gene (IGHV) status, age, sex, or disease stage. Overall survival for patients with biallelic ATM alterations was also significantly reduced compared with those with ATM wild type or ATM mutation alone (median, 42.2 v 85.5 v 77.6 months, respectively). CONCLUSIONThe combination of 11q deletion and ATM mutation in CLL is associated with significantly shorter progression-free and overall survival following first-line treatment with alkylating agents and purine analogs. Assessment of ATM mutation status in patients with 11q deletion may influence the choice of subsequent therapy.