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Highly sensitive chimerism detection in blood is associated with increased risk of relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation in childhood leukemia

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Analysis of chimerism in blood post-HCT using STR-PCR is routinely applied in parallel with quantification of MRD to predict relapse of leukemia. RQ-PCR chimerism is 10- to 100-fold more sensitive, but clinical studies in children are sparse. We analyzed IMC in blood samples following transplantation for acute lymphoblastic or myeloid leukemia in 56 children. IMC was defined as a minimum increase of (a) 0.1% or (b) 0.05% recipient DNA between two samples. The risk of relapse was higher in children with IMC of both 0.1% and 0.05% compared to children without IMC (HR 12.8 [95% CI: 3.9-41.4; P < .0001] and 7.6 [95% CI: 2.2-26.9; P < .01], respectively). The first IMC was detected at a median of 208 days prior to relapse. The 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse for children with a single IMC was 45.5% (CI 12.3-74.4) and 41.0% (14.2-66.6) for IMC above 0.1% and 0.05%, respectively. However, in 47 and 38 children never attaining IMC > 0.1% and >0.05%, 10 and 8 children relapsed, respectively. In a landmark analysis, no association was found between IMC prior to 90 days post-HCT and subsequent relapse by either classification of IMC and AUC for RQ-PCR chimerism was 54.2% (95 CI 27.7- 84.8). Although limited by a retrospective design, these results indicate that monitoring of RQ-PCR chimerism in peripheral blood may have a role in early detection of relapse in acute childhood leukemia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)e13549
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

    Research areas

  • allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, childhood leukemia, chimerism, relapse

ID: 57911393