Immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy (H) and light (L) chain gene rearrangements were used as molecular markers of clonal evolution and minimal residual disease in B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). All leukemic episodes within individual patients shared at least one identical Ig rearrangement and thus arose from a common clonal progenitor cell. Nine of 11 patients displayed completely identical patterns between leukemic episodes, while two of 11 patients demonstrated genetic progression between diagnosis and relapse as evidenced by additional rearrangements. These genetic changes marked the emergence of leukemic subclones. Ig gene rearrangements were also used as sensitive markers to identify clonal cell populations in ALL patients following induction or reinduction therapy and to search for residual bone marrow disease in patients in clinical remission or with isolated extramedullary relapse. DNA rearrangements provide tumor-specific markers to follow the genetic variation of ALL and may facilitate the early detection of recurrent disease.
PMID: 3494818, UI: 87197451