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Leukemia. 1994 May;8(5):735-9.

AML1/ETO fusion mRNA can be detected in remission blood samples of all patients with t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia after chemotherapy or autologous bone marrow transplantation.

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Department of Medicine I, University of Vienna, Austria.


The chromosomal translocation t(8;21)(q22;q22) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can be detected by a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the chimeric AML1/ETO transcript. We have evaluated the clinical relevance of this method for monitoring and detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) in seven patients who reached a complete hematological remission (CHR) after chemotherapy or autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT). Peripheral blood (PB) samples of five patients in first continuous complete remission (CCR) were still PCR-positive at a frequency of 1 in 10(5) cells after 7, 8, 8, 10 or 66 months. Chemotherapy led to a reduction from first- to second-step PCR-positivity in three serially monitored patients. AML1/ETO mRNA was also detected in the PB of two patients in CCR, 10 or 12 months after ABMT. PB and bone marrow (BM) showed identical results in all samples tested simultaneously. AML1/ETO fusion transcripts were neither found in the PB and BM of a healthy individual, nor in the PB of a patient after allogeneic BMT for cytogenetically proven t(8;21)-leukemia. Our results indicate the presence of cells carrying the AML1/ETO rearrangement in the PB and BM of all patients in CHR after chemotherapy or ABMT for t(8;21)-positive AML. While this finding raises interesting questions about the biology of acute leukemia, it limits the value of the AML/ETO RT-PCR for the prediction of impending relapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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