When can real-time quantitative RT-PCR effectively define molecular relapse in acute promyelocytic leukemia patients? (Results of the French Belgian Swiss APL Group).
ABSTRACT 10-20% of APL patients relapse and the challenge remains to early identify these patients to improve survival rate. We report PML-RARalpha transcript detection by RQ-PCR in 260 consecutive APL patients (n = 970 samples). 223 patients with samples of sufficient RNA quality to demonstrate they reached molecular remission were monitored for MRD. During follow-up, 38 of these patients were tested positive for PML-RARalpha mRNA. 13 out of the 38 patients (34%) effectively developed hematological relapse. In the first positive sample, specific PML-RARalpha NCN thresholds over which, or under which, patients could effectively be predicted to relapse or not, were identified and subsequently validated in a second cohort.