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Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a molecularly well-defined disease, characterized by a specific chromosomal translocation; the improvement in biologic and clinical knowledge and subsequent introduction of molecularly targeted therapies have transformed the management of APL, with survival rates now exceeding 80%. Minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment in APL is the most important tool for its treatment; the prognostic role of the molecular detection of promyelocytic leukemia retinoic acid receptor α (PML-RARα) transcript after consolidation therapy in the early identification of the following hematologic relapse is now well established and guides preemptive therapy. First experiences performed with a qualitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approach were replaced with more accurate real-time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR), which guarantees a numeric quantification of MRD. The identification of arsenic trioxide (ATO) as a valid therapy not only in relapsed patients but also as an alternative to standard therapy alone or in association with all-trans-retinoic acid enlarges the setting of validation of MRD evaluation in APL patients, considering a possible different clearance of PML-RARα with innovative therapy different from the standard ones. MRD monitoring demonstrated its validity also in the setting of relapsed patients with interesting results in the autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation setting or with the use of other biological agents. The aim of this review is to report and discuss the actual state of the art of MRD in APL.
Oncology and Therapy – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 21, 2015
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