Increasing survival rate of leukemia patients by novel minimal residual disease detection method

Cam Cherry


Leukemia is a hematopoietic cancer that is the most common cancer among children and has proven to be difficult to treat [4]. Even after achieving complete remission via chemotherapy and sometimes radiation treatments, the disease still has a relatively high relapse rate of about 20% in children and up to 50% in adults [3]. Because of the high relapse rate and commonality amongst children, improving the methods of relapse detection to increase the overall survival rate has been a leading focus in the oncology research field. The most common method for detecting leukemia cells in patients who had already achieved remission has historically been performing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of certain transcripts from bone marrow samples [4]. In the last 5 years, researchers have discovered a novel technique of using multicolor flow cytometry (MFC) to detect for minimal residual disease (MRD) in leukemia patients who had already achieved complete remission. This method of MFC has proven to be more efficient than PCR [4,5].  MRD detection in patients is directly correlated with leukemia relapse, so early detection of MRD is crucial for increasing survival rates of patients [1].

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