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Blood. 2001 Sep 15;98(6):1746-51.

Early immunophenotypical evaluation of minimal residual disease in acute myeloid leukemia identifies different patient risk groups and may contribute to postinduction treatment stratification.

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Department of Hematology, University Hospital; Department of Cytometry, University of Salamanca, Spain.


Early response to therapy is one of the most important prognostic factors in acute leukemia. It is hypothesized that early immunophenotypical evaluation may help identify patients at high risk for relapse from those who may remain in complete remission (CR). Using multiparametric flow cytometry, the level of minimal residual disease (MRD) was evaluated in the first bone marrow (BM) in morphologic CR obtained after induction treatment from 126 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who displayed aberrant phenotypes at diagnosis. Based on MRD level, 4 different risk categories were identified: 8 patients were at very low risk (fewer than 10(-4) cells), and none have relapsed thus far; 37 were at low risk (10(-4) to 10(-3) cells); and 64 were at intermediate risk (fewer than 10(-3) to 10(-2) cells), with 3-year cumulative relapse rates of 14% and 50%, respectively. The remaining 17 patients were in the high-risk group (more than 10(-2) residual aberrant cells) and had a 3-year relapse rate of 84% (P =.0001). MRD level not only influences relapse-free survival but also overall survival (P =.003). The adverse prognostic impact was also observed when M3 and non-M3 patients with AML were separately analyzed, and was associated with adverse cytogenetic subtypes, 2 or more cycles to achieve CR, and high white blood cell counts. Multivariate analysis showed that MRD level was the most powerful independent prognostic factor, followed by cytogenetics and number of cycles to achieve CR. In conclusion, immunophenotypical investigation of MRD in the first BM in mCR obtained after AML induction therapy provides important information for risk assessment in patients with AML.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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