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A pyrosequencing-based test for detection and relative quantification of the BCR-ABL1 T315I point mutation
  1. Jonathan A Schumacher1,
  2. Philippe Szankasi1,
  3. David W Bahler1,2,
  4. Albert K Ho1,2,
  5. Todd W Kelley1,2
  1. 1ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  2. 2Department of Pathology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Todd W Kelley, Department of Pathology, University of Utah, 15 North Medical Drive East, Room 2100, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA; todd.kelley{at}


Aims The BCR-ABL1 T315I mutation imparts resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors currently available for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukaemia. Thus, quantitative monitoring of the emergence and expansion of T315I-positive subclones may be clinically useful. The goals of this study were to retrospectively review the authors' experience with Sanger sequencing-based BCR-ABL1 kinase domain mutation testing, paying particular attention to the T315I mutation, and to develop an alternative test for relative quantification of T315I using pyrosequencing.

Methods The performance of a new T315I pyrosequencing assay was evaluated. Total RNA was isolated from whole blood and reverse-transcribed. The resulting cDNA was subjected to an initial round of PCR across the BCR-ABL1 breakpoint followed by a second round to amplify the sequence flanking ABL1 codon 315. The final PCR product was pyrosequenced to detect and quantify the T315I point mutation. Additional experiments were carried out to determine the effects of background untranslocated ABL1 on assay sensitivity in samples with low tumour burden.

Results The results show that T315I was the most commonly detected kinase domain mutation and was persistent in follow-up testing. All 26 specimens that tested positive by Sanger sequencing for the T315I mutation were also positive using the pyrosequencing test. Relative quantification data derived from pyrosequencing matched the approximate wild-type/mutant ratios found by Sanger sequencing. Serial dilution experiments show sensitivity to 5% mutant allele. The authors also quantitatively assessed the influence of untranslocated ABL1 in the sample background on the assay and found that it occurred at levels not likely to influence performance.

Conclusion The described test is useful for detection and relative quantification of the T315I point mutation in chronic myelogenous leukaemia in a sensitive, specific and reproducible manner.

  • Chronic myelogenous leukaemia
  • BCR-ABL1
  • T315I
  • kinase domain mutation
  • tyrosine kinase inhibitor
  • pyrosequencing
  • chronic myeloid leukaemia
  • haematopathology
  • molecular pathology

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  • Funding ARUP Laboratories, 500 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Utah Institutional Review Board (IRB# 7275).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.