Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Cancer Biology

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Marina Konopleva, MD PhD

Committee Member

Elias Jabbour, MD

Committee Member

Farhad Ravandi, MD

Committee Member

Koichi Takahashi, MD

Committee Member

Sean Post, PhD

Committee Member

Xuelin Huang, PhD


Measurable residual disease (MRD) is highly prognostic for relapse and overall survival (OS) in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), although many patients with apparent “MRD negativity” by standard assays still relapse. We evaluated the clinical impact of a highly sensitive next-generation sequencing (NGS) MRD assay in 74 adults with ALL undergoing frontline therapy. Among remission samples that were MRD negative by multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC), 46% were MRD positive by the NGS assay. At the time of complete remission (CR), MRD negativity by MFC at a sensitivity of 1x10-4 and NGS at a sensitivity of 1x10-6 was achieved in 66% and 23% of patients, respectively. The 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse (CIR) among patients who achieved MRD negativity by MFC at CR was 29%; in contrast, no patients who achieved MRD negativity by NGS at CR relapsed, and their 5-year OS was 90%. NGS MRD negativity at CR was associated with significantly decreased risk of relapse compared with MRD positivity (5-year CIR: 0% versus 45%, respectively, P=0.04). Among patients who were MRD negative by MFC at the time of CR, detection of low levels of MRD by NGS identified patients who still had a significant risk of relapse (5-year CIR: 39%). Early assessment of MRD using a highly sensitive NGS assay adds clinically relevant prognostic information to standard MFC-based approaches and can identify patients with ALL undergoing frontline therapy who have a very low risk of relapse and excellent long-term survival.


residual disease, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, prognosis, MRD, relapse, survival



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