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Leukemia. 2008 Apr;22(4):771-82. doi: 10.1038/leu.2008.5. Epub 2008 Jan 31.

Minimal residual disease-directed risk stratification using real-time quantitative PCR analysis of immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor gene rearrangements in the international multicenter trial AIEOP-BFM ALL 2000 for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany.


Detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) is the most sensitive method to evaluate treatment response and one of the strongest predictors of outcome in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The 10-year update on the I-BFM-SG MRD study 91 demonstrates stable results (event-free survival), that is, standard risk group (MRD-SR) 93%, intermediate risk group (MRD-IR) 74%, and high risk group (MRD-HR) 16%. In multicenter trial AIEOP-BFM ALL 2000, patients were stratified by MRD detection using quantitative PCR after induction (TP1) and consolidation treatment (TP2). From 1 July 2000 to 31 October 2004, PCR target identification was performed in 3341 patients: 2365 (71%) patients had two or more sensitive targets (< or =10(-4)), 671 (20%) patients revealed only one sensitive target, 217 (6%) patients had targets with lower sensitivity, and 88 (3%) patients had no targets. MRD-based risk group assignment was feasible in 2594 (78%) patients: 40% were classified as MRD-SR (two sensitive targets, MRD negativity at both time points), 8% as MRD-HR (MRD > or =10(-3) at TP2), and 52% as MRD-IR. The remaining 823 patients were stratified according to clinical risk features: HR (n=108) and IR (n=715). In conclusion, MRD-PCR-based stratification using stringent criteria is feasible in almost 80% of patients in an international multicenter trial.

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