Detection of minimal residual disease in patients with acutemyeloid leukemia

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Aim. Detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
and the study of its correlations with duration of recurrence-free interval.
Material and methods. Bone marrow samples obtained from 37 AML patients before treatment were
studied at two-color flow cytometry. The panel of monoclonal antibodies to T- and B-cell, myeloid
antigens was used. The residual cells were estimated in 20 patients in remission.
Results. 78% cases were diagnosed to have an anomalous immunophenotype including coexpression of
lymphoid and myeloid antigens, asynchronous expression of myeloid antigens. In the first remission the
residual cells were detected in 20 patients due to aberrant antigen expression. The presence of MRD
was stated if bone marrow contained more than 0.12% leukemic cells. The duration of the first remission
and MRD correlated. 8 patients with MRD had remission for 3 to 6 months (median 4.7 months).
12 patients free of MRD were in remission for more than 6 months (for 8 to 26 months, median 19.7
months). The threshold level of the residual cells (0.12%) was confirmed statistically using the threeparameter
probability model.
Conclusion. This study confirms feasibility of using flow cytometry for detection of residual cells. MRD
and duration of the first remission correlate. Long-term observation of large groups of AML patients
will try the validity of the above statistical model.


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