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Flow cytometric minimal residual disease assessment of peripheral blood in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia patients has potential for early detection of relapsed extramedullary disease
  1. Alissa Keegan1,
  2. Karry Charest1,
  3. Ryan Schmidt1,
  4. Debra Briggs2,
  5. Daniel J Deangelo2,
  6. Betty Li1,
  7. Elizabeth A Morgan1,
  8. Olga Pozdnyakova1
  1. 1 Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Olga Pozdnyakova, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA; opozdnyakova{at}


Objectives To evaluate peripheral blood (PB) for minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment in adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Methods We analysed 76 matched bone marrow (BM) aspirate and PB specimens independently for the presence of ALL MRD by six-colour flow cytometry (FC).

Results The overall rate of BM MRD-positivity was 24% (18/76) and PB was also MRD-positive in 22% (4/18) of BM-positive cases. We identified two cases with evidence of leukaemic cells in PB at the time of the extramedullary relapse that were interpreted as MRD-negative in BM.

Conclusions The use of PB MRD as a non-invasive method for monitoring of systemic relapse may have added clinical and diagnostic value in patients with high risk of extramedullary disease.

  • ALL
  • MRD
  • hematogone
  • flow cytometry
  • peripheral blood

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  • Handling editor Mary Frances McMullin.

  • Contributors All authors participated in study design, data collection, data review and writing of manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Partners IRB.

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

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