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Blood. 2000 Jan 1;95(1):96-101.

A prospective study of residual-disease monitoring of the ALL1/AF4 transcript in patients with t(4;11) acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Twenty-five patients (22 adults and 3 infants) with ALL1/AF4-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were prospectively monitored by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) between January 1992 and July 1999. After high-dose induction and consolidation chemotherapy without bone marrow transplantation, all patients had a complete hematologic remission. Using nested RT-PCR (sensitivity 10(-4)), we observed conversion to PCR negativity in 11 (44%) of the patients. Thirteen of the 14 patients who did not have a molecular remission had a relapse at a median time of 4 months (range, 1 - 20 months). Of the 11 patients who had a conversion to PCR negativity, 5 reconverted to PCR positivity within 1 to 14 months. These 5 patients all progressed to hematologic relapse after 2, 3, 4, 4, and 7 months, respectively. Of the remaining 6 patients, 4 are in persistent hematologic and molecular remission at 12, 14, 88, and 96 months, whereas 2 are early in their follow-up. Actuarial probabilities of relapse and overall survival were 100% and 0% at 14 and 24 months and 67% and 43% at 96 and 100 months, respectively, in patients who had persistent RT-PCR positivity and in those who had a molecular remission. For both relapse and survival, the differences observed between the two groups were significant (P =.003 and P <.005, respectively). This study, which represents the first prospective analysis of residual-disease monitoring carried out in a substantial series of patients with t(4;11)-positive ALL, emphasizes the clinical relevance of RT-PCR-based methods to monitor minimal residual disease in this leukemia subset. (Blood. 2000;95:96-101).

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