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The predictive value of molecular minimal residual disease (MRD) monitoring using polymerase chain reaction amplification of clone-specific immunoglobulin or T-cell Receptor rearrangements was analysed in 161 patients with non T-lineage Philadelphia-negative acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) participating in the UK arm of the international ALL trial UKALL XII/Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) 2993. MRD positivity (> or =10(-4)) in patients treated with chemotherapy alone was associated with significantly shorter relapse-free survival (RFS) at several time-points during the first year of therapy. MRD status best discriminated outcome after phase 2 induction, when the relative risk of relapse was 8.95 (2.85-28.09)-fold higher in MRD-positive (> or =10(-4)) patients and the 5-year RFS 15% [95% confidence interval (CI) 0-40%] compared to 71% (56-85%) in MRD-negative (<10(-4)) patients (P = 0.0002) When MRD was detected prior to autologous stem cell transplantation (SCT), a significantly higher rate of treatment failure was observed [5-year RFS 25% (CI 0-55%) vs. 77% (95% CI 54-100%) in MRD-negative/<10(-4), P = 0.01] whereas in recipients of allogeneic-SCT in first complete remission, MRD positivity pre-transplant did not adversely affect outcome. These data provide a rationale for introducing MRD-based risk stratification in future studies for the delineation of those at significant risk of treatment failure in whom intensification of therapy should be evaluated.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Haematol

Publication Date





80 - 89


Adolescent, Adult, Child, Epidemiologic Methods, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Humans, Immunophenotyping, Middle Aged, Neoplasm, Residual, Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma, Prognosis, Recurrence, Treatment Failure, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult