Minimal Residual Disease in Leukemia Should Factor in Post-Therapy

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Minimal residual disease status in AML achieving remission should guide post-induction therapy.
Minimal residual disease status in AML achieving remission should guide post-induction therapy.

Minimal residual disease status is an important outcome factor in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) achieving remission, and should play a role in post-induction therapy, according to a study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In a retrospective analysis of 245 adults with AML, Xueyan Chen, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington and colleagues collected bone marrow samples from first date of blood count recovery in these patients to determine minimal residual disease.

All patients achieved complete remission, incomplete platelet recovery, or complete recovery with incomplete blood count recovery after induction therapy.

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They found that 71 percent of patients who had achieved complete remission had minimal residual disease less frequently. They also had lower levels of minimal residual disease  compared to 19.6 percent of patients who had incomplete platelet recovery and 9.4 percent with incomplete blood count recovery.

“Our data indicate that post-therapy parameters including minimal residual disease status and response are important independent prognostic factors for outcome in patients with AML achieving remission,” the authors concluded.

“Minimal residual disease status and type of response should play important, and perhaps dominant, roles in planning post-induction therapy.”


  1. Chen, Xueyan. "Relation of Clinical Response and Minimal Residual Disease and Their Prognostic Impact on Outcome in Acute Myeloid Leukemia." Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.58.3518. [epub ahead of print]. March 2, 2015.

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