Patients in complete clinical remission after myeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) were enrolled in a longitudinal study to assess the predictive value of molecular monitoring. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for immunoglobulin gene rearrangements it was possible to generate a clone-specific molecular marker in 48 of 70 patients. Of these 48 patients, 16 (33%) attained durable PCR-negativity after transplantation, whereas 13 (27%) remained persistently PCR-positive and 19 (40%) showed a mixed pattern. The cumulative risk of relapse at 5 years was 0% for PCR-negative patients, 33% for PCR-mixed patients, and 100% for PCR-positive patients. Within the group studied it was not possible to identify any clinical feature predictive of durable PCR-negativity. We believe that these findings could prompt the design of prospective studies to evaluate if the treatment of molecular disease can extend remission duration and survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas