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Leukemia Researchers Link Three Alleles to Minimal Residual Disease in 1,413 Children


The likelihood that children treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia will continue to show minimal residual disease — the presence of circulating leukemia cells in bone marrow — after therapy is related to three genetic polymorphisms, according to an abstract presented by a Pediatric Oncology Group researcher last week at the American Society of Hematology.

“There is good data that indicates that children’s response to upfront therapy in the first four to eight weeks is a key predictor of survival,” lead investigator Stella Davies of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center told Pharmacogenomics Reporter. “We’re using the clearance of minimal residual disease as an early endpoint to assess likely outcomes,” said Davies.

Using TaqMan, Pediatric Oncology Group researchers genotyped 1413 children with leukemia given induction therapy. Correlating the data with the presence or absence of minimal residual disease, they narrowed a field of ten polymorphisms in eight genes, which they identified as important given their metabolic pathways, down to three polymorphisms in three genes.

“The most important one was MTHFR,” which is involved in folate metabolism, said Davies.

“With a long-term study, we’d have to wait seven to 10 years for survival data. Here we get the answer much earlier with an upfront analysis.”

— CW


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