High-throughput sequencing detects early leukemia relapse

Share this article:

Compared with flow cytometry, a high-speed DNA-decoding technology known as high-throughput sequencing was able to identify minimal residual disease in nearly twice as many persons with leukemia.

Flow cytometry counts the number of cells with cancer-specific protein markers on their surface. In the United States, it is considered the gold standard for detecting minimal residual disease, a major predictor of cancer relapse characterized by a small number of cancer cells that survive treatment and persist in patients.

Now, a clinical trial has found high-throughput sequencing, which can determine thousands or millions of sequences of nucleotides along strands of DNA, to be at least 20 times more sensitive than flow cytometry in detecting minimal residual disease. In addition, high-throughput sequencing is highly automated and therefore less vulnerable to operator error and less time-consuming than flow cytometry.

For the study, Harlan Robins, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues assessed minimal residual disease at posttreatment day 29 in 43 patients with acute T lymphoblastic leukemia. The investigators reported in Science Translational Medicine (2012;4[134]:134ra63) that high-throughput sequencing picked up minimal residual disease in 22 patients, compared with 12 patients for flow cytometry.

Patients whose cancer recurrence is detected early could be treated sooner, increasing their chance for survival. Eventually, high-throughput sequencing might even allow for much earlier diagnosing of leukemia and lymphoma than is currently possible. 

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs

More in Web Exclusives

Landmark Medicare law had little impact on reducing chemotherapy cost

Legislation passed in 2003 intended to slow the spiraling costs of drugs paid for by the federal government to treat Medicare patients has not proved to be a success.

Follow-up colonoscopies too frequent and overused by endoscopists

A retrospective study has uncovered an overuse of colonoscopies for colorectal cancer screening and surveillance.

Current therapy for hypothyroidism endorsed by new guidelines

A recent review has found insufficient consistent data exist to recommend a change in use of levothyroxine as the only drug needed to treat hypothyroidism.