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Leukemia. 2001 Jul;15(7):1072-80.

Quantification of CBFbeta/MYH11 fusion transcript by real time RT-PCR in patients with INV(16) acute myeloid leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


Amplification of the CBFbeta/MYH11 fusion transcript by a qualitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has been used to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) and assess the risk for disease relapse in inv(16)(p13q22) acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This strategy has, however, produced conflicting results and because of an uncertain predictive value, its use in the clinical setting cannot be recommended. The objective of the current study was to evaluate if quantification by Real Time RT-PCR could be useful to determine levels of CBFbeta/MYH11 fusion transcripts predictive of clinical outcome in inv(16)(p13q22) AML at diagnosis or during remission. Bone marrow (BM) samples from 16 patients with inv(16) AML enrolled on a German multicenter trial (AML HD93) were analyzed for levels of CBFbeta/MYH11 fusion transcripts by Real Time RT-PCR at diagnosis (n= 14), during remission (n= 10) and at relapse (n=6). The CBFbeta/MYH11 transcript copy number in each sample was normalized to copies of an internal control housekeeping transcript (ie 18S). The copy number measured at diagnosis or relapse were 3 to 4 log higher that those measured during remission, following completion of induction treatment. A high CBFbeta/MYH11 transcript copy number at diagnosis had a significant correlation with a high percentage of BM blasts (Spearman's coefficient = -0.66; P= 0.03), and a borderline correlation with a short complete remission (CR) duration (Spearman's coefficient = -0.51; P= 0.07). No difference in levels of CBFbeta/MYH11 fusion transcripts measured during intensification therapy was found between patients destined to relapse and those who continued in CCR (P= 0.75). Following completion of the entire chemotherapy program, patients that during CR showed a CBFbeta/MYH11 fusion transcript copy number >10 had a significantly shorter CR duration (P= 0.002) and higher risk for disease relapse (P= 0.05) than patients with a CBFbeta/MYH11 fusion transcript copy number <10. The results of the current study, therefore, suggest that it is possible to determine in remission samples a threshold of CBFbeta/MYH11 transcript copy number above which relapse occurs and below which continuous CR is likely.

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