Genomic BCR-ABL1 breakpoint characterization by a multi-strategy approach for personalized monitoring of residual disease in chronic myeloid leukemia patients
5th January 2018 - Oncotarget
For monitoring minimal residual disease (MRD) in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) the most recommended method is quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) for measuring BCR-ABL1 transcripts. Several studies reported that a DNA-based assay enhances the sensitivity of detection of the BCR-ABL1 genomic rearrangement, even if its characterization results difficult. We developed a DNA-based method for detecting and quantifying residual BCR-ABL1 positive leukemic stem cells in CML patients. We propose two alternative approaches: the first one is a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-based step followed by Sanger sequencing; the second one employs MinION, a single molecule sequencer based on nanopore technology. Finally, after defining the BCR-ABL1 genomic junction, we performed the target CML patient–specific quantification, using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). FISH and MinION steps, respectively, together with ddPCR analysis, greatly reduce the complexity that has impeded the use of “personalized monitoring” of CML in clinical practice. Our report suggests a feasible pipeline, in terms of costs and reproducibility, aimed at characterizing and quantifying the genomic BCR-ABL1 rearrangement during MRD monitoring in CML patients.