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Blood. 1988 Apr;71(4):1068-73.

Idiotype as a tumor-specific marker in childhood B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA.


Immunoglobulin (Ig) or idiotype (Id) is a tumor-specific target in those B cell malignancies that express this molecule on their surface. We explored the biology of B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B cell ALL) using Id as a tumor marker. In this report we describe the development of anti-Id monoclonal antibodies (MAB) for two children with B cell ALL. These reagents were used retrospectively to study tumor kinetics and to detect residual disease after chemotherapy. In both cases serum Id values were strikingly high at diagnosis (1.2 mg/mL and 10.8 mg/mL), suggesting that the tumor cells were relatively mature B cells capable of significant antibody production. In both patients the serum Id levels fell with the institution of therapy and confirmed that the patients were in remission. Increasing serum Id predicted relapse four months before conventional methods in patient 1, and Id proved to be a more sensitive measure of tumor burden than Southern blot analysis of rearranged Ig genes in bone marrow samples. Surprisingly, low levels of Id were redetected in the second patient just before completing therapy and have persisted for over a year despite the absence of clinical evidence of recurrent disease. Thus, serum Id levels reflect tumor burden during initial therapy but may not necessarily predict tumor progression after a complete clinical remission.

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