Clinical Laboratory Correlates in Childhood ALL

Clonal stability in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who relapsed five or more years after diagnosis

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Abstract

Although most relapses of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) occur 24–36 months after first CR has been achieved, few patients relapse 5 or more years after CR achievement. The assessment of clonality has proved to be useful in determining whether even those very late events represent the reoccurrence of the original clone or alternatively a secondary leukemia. To gain further information on clonal stability in such late relapse, we performed detailed comparative Southern blotting and PCR analyses of TcRδ and TcRγ gene rearrangements in five ALL at presentation and subsequent relapse which occurred more than 5 years after diagnosis. At least one stable rearranged allele of the TcRδ and TcRγ loci was traced in all cases at presentation and clinical relapse despite a wide heterogeneity of the pattern of rearrangements. Our study extends to a larger series of patients previous findings which have sought to analyze the phenomenon of clonal evolution in children relapsed after more than 5 years of CCR. With respect to the potential pitfalls in monitoring minimal residual disease in childhood ALL for the presence of clonal evolution, our results highlight the combination of two target genes (such as TcRγ and TcRδ) as a tool to reduce false negative MRD results.

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Correspondence to A Biondi.

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Nigro, L., Cazzaniga, G., Cataldo, A. et al. Clonal stability in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who relapsed five or more years after diagnosis. Leukemia 13, 190–195 (1999) doi:10.1038/sj.leu.2401269

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Keywords

  • late relapse
  • childhood ALL
  • clonality

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