Detection of minimal disease in hematopoietic malignancies of the B-cell lineage by using third-complementarity-determining region (CDR-III)-specific probes

M. Yamada, S. Hudson, O. Tournay, S. Bittenbender, S. S. Shane, B. Lange, Y. Tsujimoto, A. J. Caton, G. Rovera

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Approximately 80% of hematopoietic malignancies of the B-cell lineage carry only one or two immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangements indicating their clonal origin. These rearrangements due to the recombination of various variable, diversity, and joining regions of the heavy-chain gene segments during B-cell commitment result in a region called complementarity-determining region III (CDR-III). This region, which encompasses the diversity region of the heavy-chain segment, because of extensive somatic mutations, provides a DNA-encoded signature specific for each B-cell clone. CDR-III sequences were obtained from DNA of pre-B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia by using suitable primers and the polymerase chain reaction. The sequences were used to generate diagnostic probes that hybridized only to the amplified CDR-III of leukemic cells from which the sequences were derived. With these probes, leukemic cells could be detected when diluted 1:10,000 with other cells. By cloning the amplified CDR-III into recombinant libraries residual leukemic cells were accurately quantitated in bone-marrow samples from repeated relapses and remissions in one case of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. During a clinical remission lasting > 7 mo, malignant cells were present in marrow at > 1 per 1000 cells. These findings indicate that custom-made diagnostic probes will be useful in accurate quantitation of malignant cells in acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients in clinical remission and will allow investigation of the biological significance of low or high numbers of residual leukemic cells in evolution of that disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5123-5127
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes


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