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Sequential monitoring of chimerism and detection of minimal residual disease after allogeneic blood stem cell transplantation (BSCT) using multiplex PCR amplification of short tandem repeat-markers

Abstract

Sequential analysis of chimerism after allogeneic blood stem cell transplantation (BSCT) has been shown to be predictive for graft failure and relapse. We have explored the impact of a novel approach for the quantitative determination of chimerism using a commercial PCR assay with multiplex amplification of nine STR-loci and fluorescence detection. The feasibility was studied in 121 patients transplanted from related or unrelated donors. Follow-up investigation was performed in 88 patients. Twenty-eight of these patients had received a transplantation after dose-reduced conditioning therapy. Results were compared to data obtained by FISH analysis in a subgroup of patients receiving grafts from sex-mismatched donors. The analysis was possible in all patients, the median number of informative alleles was 4 (range 1–8) compared to 7 (range 1–9) in the related and unrelated situation, respectively. A good correlation was seen in 84 samples from 14 patients analyzed in parallel with STR-PCR and FISH. Decreasing values of donor chimerism were detected prior to or concomitantly with the occurrence of graft failure and relapse of disease in all patients investigated prospectively. Using FACS-sorted material, eg peripheral blood CD34+ cells, the assay permitted the detection of residual recipient cells with high sensitivity (down to one CD34+ Kasumi cell in 40 000 normal WBC). Evaluation of the inter-laboratory reproducibility revealed that in 20 samples analyzed in three different centers, the median coefficient of variation was 2.1% (range 0.7–9.6%). Taken together, the results support the use of the test as a valuable tool in the follow-up of patients undergoing allogeneic BSCT. In cases lacking PCR-detectable disease-specific gene products, this assay may represent an alternative to recently established real-time PCR methods.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Mrs Ulrike Löwel, Marita Hartwig and Heidrun Klose for excellent technical assistance. Furthermore, the help of the clinical and laboratory staff of the Dr Mildred-Scheel bone marrow transplantation center at the university clinic in Dresden is highly acknowledged. This study was supported in part by grants from the Deutsche Krebshilfe (Project No. 70–2210-Eh5), the German José Carreras foundation (AN) and funding from the Technical University Dresden Research Program (CT/MB).

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Thiede, C., Bornhäuser, M., Oelschlägel, U. et al. Sequential monitoring of chimerism and detection of minimal residual disease after allogeneic blood stem cell transplantation (BSCT) using multiplex PCR amplification of short tandem repeat-markers. Leukemia 15, 293–302 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.leu.2401953

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Keywords

  • STR-PCR
  • chimerism
  • transplantation
  • minimal residual disease

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