We compared quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (Q-RT-PCR) to qualitative RT-PCR in determining response to therapy and predicting clinical outcome in 18 retrospectively selected patients with ALL positive for the ALL1-AF4 fusion and with frozen RNA samples collected at diagnosis and during follow-up (96 samples analysed). The ALL1-AF4 junction was detected by qualitative RT-PCR in 18 patients and by Q-RT-PCR in 17 patients (one patient harboured the rare e10-e6 ALL1-AF4 junction, which falls outside of the primer and probe location designed for the Q-RT-PCR). In three of the 12 patients negative to qualitative RT-PCR after induction therapy, a small number of ALL1-AF4 copies was detected by Q-RT-PCR. Thus nine patients were negative and eight positive. Seven of the eight positive patients suffered a relapse, including two of the three patients positive to Q-RT-PCR yet negative to qualitative RT-PCR. Moreover, we found two (5%) discordant results among the 39 follow-up tests of the nine patients who converted to a negative qualitative-quantitative PCR status. The results suggest that qualitative RT-PCR is more appropriate for the routine diagnosis of this genetic alteration. However, Q-RT-PCR is more accurate in assessing the molecular response after induction treatment and could be more useful in clinical decision-making in ALL1-AF4-positive ALL patients.
- Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
- Monitoring of ALL1/AF4 transcript
- Qualitative RT-PCR
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research