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Leukemia. 2003 Jun;17(6):1130-6.

Monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD) by real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RQ-RT-PCR) in childhood acute myeloid leukemia with AML1/ETO rearrangement.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Giessen (JLU), Giessen, Germany.


The fusion transcript AML1/ETO corresponding to translocation t(8;21)(q22;q22) can be found in approximately 7-12% of childhood de novo AML. Despite the favorable prognosis, some of these patients relapse. Most of MRD studies so far were performed on adults treated not uniformly. Therefore, we analyzed the follow-up of 15 AML1/ETO-positive children using real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RQ-RT-PCR), all enrolled in the multicenter therapy trial AML-BFM 98. AML1/ETO copy numbers were normalized to the control gene ABL and the results were expressed in copy numbers AML1/ETO per 10 000 copies ABL. At diagnosis, a median of 10 789 copies AML1/ETO was found. A linear decrease to about 10 copies (2-4 log) could be seen in most of the children by the start of consolidation. In the majority of cases they remained positive at this low level during the ongoing therapy. Four children relapsed and two of them had a decrease of less than 2 log before starting consolidation. Three of the relapsed children showed, prior to relapse, an increase of the AML1/ETO fusion transcript at 6, 9, and 11 weeks, respectively. These results suggest that monitoring of minimal residual disease using RQ-RT-PCR could be helpful in detecting patients with a higher risk of relapse.

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