Background. PCR techniques detecting interchromosomal translocation and clonal immunoglobulin gene rearrangement (IgH) as disease markers in non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) has been utilised past ten years. However, qualitative PCR detection of persisted minimal residual disease cannot provide clinically useful prognostic information and presently, quantitative approaches are required to predict patient outcome and assess response to the treatment. In some cases, „end-point" quantifying techniques, such as comparative PCR, are applicable and the relative estimation of differences in target quantity may serve in disease monitoring rather than absolute number of target copies.
Methods and Results. Our method of comparative PCR employs co-amplification of sequences of interest (clonal CDR3, bc12/Jh) and the segment of Hras 1 gene(ras) as an internal standard. Serial dilutions of stored diagnostic DNAs from blond and bone marrow are examined in the same PCR and, after gel densitometry, the amount of initial target is assessed by comparing exponential products of co-amplification. The comparative PCR assay was utilized in monitoring of NHL patients cured either with conventional therapy, or with high-dose regimens and transplantation with stem cells, or with chimaeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (Rituximab). Results from 50 monitored intervale obtained during several months up to several years were supplemented with clinical statements retrospectively. Some of patients became PCR-negative, reappearance of PCR-pozitivity was observed as well. The decrease or increase of disease marker corresponded to clinical observations. Results obtained from bone marrow were in agreement with those obtained from blond.
Conclusions. End-point quantifying PCR comparative assay may provide an information on the increased risk of relapse and impact of the therapy. The predictive value of these methods depends on the frequency of sample taking and on the sensitivity of the method, which should be monitored in negative cases.
comparative PCR, molecular monitoring, non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.