Shanghai Institute of Hematology, Rui-Jin Hospital, Shanghai Second Medical University (SSMU), China.
Two types of markers, namely the clone-specific markers including T-cell receptor (TCR) gamma, TCR delta, and Ig heavy-chain (IgH) gene rearrangements, and malignancy-specific fusion gene mRNA such as SIL-TAL-1, BCR-ABL, and HRX-partner genes, were investigated by molecular biology techniques in 65 Chinese patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In combination, these markers were informative among 96% of patients. Minimal residual disease (MRD) was followed up in 23 of these patients with available materials over a period varying from 8 to 54 months with at least one leukemia-specific probe. In most children, MRD was decreased continuously to an ultimately undetectable level within 6 to 12 months after remission induction therapy. One patient exhibited low-level residual leukemic cells for 4 years before the MRD turned negative. Another patient remained in complete remission for 45 months, although a positive signal was detected at 34 months using TCR delta probe, but was negative with a TCR gamma marker which was positive at presentation. In three patients who relapsed, MRD either persisted through the clinical course or became positive and eventually increased 3-11 months before clinical relapse. These data suggested that the combined use of multiple gene markers is a valuable tool for the PCR-based MRD detection, since it can cover most ALL patients. Furthermore, long-term follow-up of MRD is helpful for determining the dosage as well as the period of maintenance chemotherapy and for predicting impending relapse.
PMID: 8640718, UI: 96257773