The importance of molecular monitoring in acute promyelocytic leukaemia

Francesco Lo-Coco, Massimo Breccia, Daniela Diverio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) is characterized by a unique genetic marker in virtually 100% of cases, i.e. the PML/RARα fusion gene which is readily amplified by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Several international groups reported the prognostic significance of minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment in APL, indicating that sequential PCR analysis should be used as a guide to therapy. In fact, such evaluation offers the possibility of identifying, after front-line treatment, either patients requiring additional therapy or patients at low risk who are presumably cured and who may be spared unnecessary toxicity. In this view, the terms molecular remission and molecular relapse are now widely employed to define a more advanced therapeutic objective and a condition necessitating anticipated salvage, respectively. The introduction of quantitative PCR through automated technologies is likely to further improve standardization of the method and comparison of results obtained in the context of large clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-520
Number of pages18
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Haematology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL)
  • Minimal residual disease (MRD)
  • PML/RARα
  • Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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