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Leukemia. 2005 Apr;19(4):628-35.

Significant reduction of the hybrid BCR/ABL transcripts after induction and consolidation therapy is a powerful predictor of treatment response in adult Philadelphia-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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CEINGE - Biotecnologie Avanzate and Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biotecnologie Mediche, University 'Federico II di Napolì, Italy.


Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has a dismal prognosis. We prospectively evaluated minimal residual disease (MRD) by measuring BCR/ ABL levels with a quantitative real-time PCR procedure after induction and after consolidation in 45 adults with Ph+ ALL who obtained complete hematological remission after a high-dose daunorubicin induction schedule. At diagnosis, the mean BCR-ABL/GUS ratio was 1.55 +/- 1.78. A total of 42 patients evaluable for outcome analysis were operationally divided into two MRD groups: good molecular responders (GMRs; n = 28) with > 2 log reduction of residual disease after induction and > 3 log reduction after consolidation therapy, and poor molecular responders (PMRs; n = 14) who, despite complete hematological remission, had a higher MRD at both time points. In GMR, the actuarial probability of relapse-free, disease-free and overall survival at two years was 38, 27 and 48%, respectively, as compared to 0, 0 and 0% in PMR (P = 0.0035, 0.0076 and 0.0026, respectively). Salvage therapy induced a second sustained complete hematological remission in three GMR patients, but in no PMR patient. Our data indicate that, as already shown in children, adult Ph+ ALL patients have a heterogeneous sensitivity to treatment, and that early quantification of residual disease is a prognostic parameter in this disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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