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Am J Hematol. 2014 Jun;89(6):610-5. doi: 10.1002/ajh.23696. Epub 2014 Mar 8.

Minimal residual disease monitoring in t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia based on RUNX1-RUNX1T1 fusion quantification on genomic DNA.

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Laboratory of Hematology, Biology and Pathology Center, Lille, France.


Although acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with t(8;21) belongs to the favorable risk AML subset, relapse incidence may reach 30% in those patients. RUNX1-RUNX1T1 fusion transcript is a well-established marker for minimal residual disease (MRD) monitoring. In this study, we investigated the feasibility and performances of RUNX1-RUNX1T1 DNA as MRD marker in AML with t(8;21). In 17/22 patients with t(8;21)-positive AML treated in the French CBF-2006 trial, breakpoints in RUNX1 and RUNX1T1 were identified using long-range PCR followed by next-generation sequencing. RUNX1-RUNX1T1 DNA quantification was performed by real-time quantitative PCR using patient-specific primers and probe. MRD levels were evaluated in 71 follow-up samples from 16 patients, with a median of four samples [range 2-7] per patient. RUNX1 breakpoints were located in intron 5 in all cases. RUNX1T1 breakpoints were located in intron 1b in 15 cases and in intron 1a in two cases. RUNX1-RUNX1T1 MRD levels measured on DNA and RNA were strongly correlated (r = 0.8, P < 0.0001). Discordant MRD results were observed in 10/71 (14%) of the samples: in three samples from two patients who relapsed, RUNX1-RUNX1T1 was detectable only on DNA, while RUNX1-RUNX1T1 was detectable only on RNA in seven samples. MRD monitoring on genomic DNA is feasible, but with sensitivity variations depending on the patient breakpoint sequence and the qPCR assay efficiency. Although interpretation of the results is easier because it is closely related to the number of leukemic cells, this method greatly increases time, cost and complexity, which limits its interest in routine practice.


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