Multi-parameter flow cytometry (MPFC) was used to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) following bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in 21 patients. Bone marrow (BM)was analyzed pre-transplant and 3-4 months post-BMT while the patients were in clinical and morphological remission. MRD was detected by identifying cells with aberrant antigen expression and/or leukemia-associated phenotype (LAP) using MPFC. Prior to BMT, 8 out of 21 patients exhibited normal antigen expression based on normal BM samples while 13 BM aspirates had abnormal MPFC. Pre-BMT MPFC was abnormal in all 10 patients who were not in complete remission (CR) (> 5% blasts in BM) as well as 3 patients acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who were in CR. In BM from ALL patients, an abnormal uniform B cell population was observed however antigen expression patterns varied greatly between patients. BM from acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) patients showed an abnormal distribution of CD34+ cells. In addition, a correlation was observed between pre-BMT cytogenetics and MPFC. Only 2 out of 8 (25%) patients with normal MPFC pre-autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT) relapsed (AML), while 6 out of 13 (46%) patients with abnormal pre-BMT MPFC relapsed including 2 out of 3 patients who were transplanted in clinical CR. Pre-BMT MPFC may thus be an effective tool for detection of MRD by detection of a pre-transplant MPFC abnormality.
- Bone marrow transplantation
- Minimal residual disease
- Multi-parameter flow cytometry