A multigene array for measurable residual disease detection in AML patients undergoing SCT

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AML is a diagnosis encompassing a diverse group of myeloid malignancies. Heterogeneous genetic etiology, together with the potential for oligoclonality within the individual patient, have made the identification of a single high-sensitivity marker of disease burden challenging. We developed a multiple gene measurable residual disease (MG-MRD) RQ-PCR array for the high-sensitivity detection of AML, retrospectively tested on 74 patients who underwent allo-SCT at the NHLBI in the period 1994-2012. MG-MRD testing on peripheral blood samples prior to transplantation demonstrated excellent concordance with traditional BM-based evaluation and improved risk stratification for post-transplant relapse and OS outcomes. Pre-SCT assessment by MG-MRD predicted all clinical relapses occurring in the first 100 days after allo-SCT compared with 57% sensitivity using WT1 RQ-PCR alone. Nine patients who were negative for WT1 prior to transplantation were correctly reclassified into a high-risk MG-MRD-positive group, associated with 100% post-transplant mortality. This study provides proof of principle that a multiple gene approach may be superior to the use of WT1 expression alone for AML residual disease detection.

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