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Leukemia. 2016 Feb;30(2):439-46. doi: 10.1038/leu.2015.252. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

A simple one-tube assay for immunophenotypical quantification of leukemic stem cells in acute myeloid leukemia.

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Department of Hematology, VU University Medical Center, Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Relapses after initial successful treatment in acute myeloid leukemia are thought to originate from the outgrowth of leukemic stem cells. Their flow cytometrically assessed frequency is of importance for relapse prediction and is therefore assumed to be implemented in future risk group profiling. Since current detection methods are complex, time- and bone marrow consuming (multiple-tubes approach), it would be advantageous to have a broadly applicable approach that enables to quantify leukemia stem cells both at diagnosis and follow-up. We compared 15 markers in 131 patients concerning their prevalence, usefulness and stability in CD34(+)CD38(-) leukemic stem cell detection in healthy controls, acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis and follow-up samples. Ultimately, we designed a single 8-color detection tube including common markers CD45, CD34 and CD38, and specific markers CD45RA, CD123, CD33, CD44 and a marker cocktail (CLL-1/TIM-3/CD7/CD11b/CD22/CD56) in one fluorescence channel. Validation analyses in 31 patients showed that the single tube approach was as good as the multiple-tube approach. Our approach requires the least possible amounts of bone marrow, and is suitable for multi-institutional studies. Moreover, it enables detection of leukemic stem cells both at time of diagnosis and follow-up, thereby including initially low-frequency populations emerging under therapy pressure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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