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Technologies for monitoring remaining leukemia after treatment may help predict patient outcomes
Date:7/9/2013

of treatment. However, data from several recent studies have suggested that monitoring the amount of this remaining cancer cell population, known as minimal residual disease (MRD), may be an effective indicator of a patient's risk of relapse. Consequently, clinicians have increasingly employed several highly sensitive monitoring tools to detect MRD, such as multi-parameter flow cytometry (MFC) and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR), that search for genetic aberrations in a patient's blood and bone marrow that indicate the presence of cancerous cells. Although this method has proved effective for several other types of leukemia, the reliability of these tools specific to Ph+ ALL is not yet fully understood.

"The arrival of tyrosine kinase inhibitors has marked the beginning of an exciting era in which we can begin considering alternative preventive cancer treatments and look to spare patients from the risk of toxicities that often accompany stem cell transplants," said lead study author Farhad Ravandi, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "Now that we know that these drugs are effective, we can take the next step and focus on studying lingering disease in Ph+ ALL patients to guide more effective treatments and ultimately predict and manage possible relapse."

To better understand how technology that tracks indicators of MRD could potentially predict Ph+ ALL patients' survival and inform treatment decisions, Dr. Ravandi and a team of MD Anderson researchers conducted a decade-long study to monitor whether a negative MRD reading was associated with prolonged survival. Between 2001 and 2011, Dr. Ravandi's team monitored 76 adult patients (average of 54 years old) with Ph+ ALL who had achieved complete remission after a treatment regimen including at least one course of induction chemotherapy plus a TKI followed by treatment with a TKI (either dasatinib or imatinib) and chemotherapy, and two year
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Contact: Amanda Szabo
aszabo@hematology.org
202-552-4914
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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