Feasibility of treating post-transplantation minimal residual disease in children with acute leukemia

Nirali N. Shah, Michael J. Borowitz, Nancy C. Robey, Christopher J. Gamper, Heather J. Symons, David M. Loeb, Alan S. Wayne, Allen R. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Outcomes are poor for patients with hematologic malignancies who experience overt relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). Data on outcomes of post-transplantation minimal residual disease (MRD) are limited. In this single-institution, retrospective cohort analysis of children with acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, we document the pattern of relapse with a primary focus on outcomes of post-transplantation MRD. Forty of 93 patients (43%) who underwent a first allogeneic HCT and had systematic pretransplantation and post-transplantation MRD evaluations at +30, +60, +90, +180 days and +1 and +2 years post-transplantation experienced relapse. The median time to relapse was 4.8 months post-transplantation, with a median survival of 4 months post-relapse. Despite frequent, systematic, routine post-HCT disease restaging evaluation, 31 patients (78%) presented with overt disease at the time of relapse. Seven patients with acute leukemia who had post-transplantation MRD presented at a median of 1 month post-transplantation. Owing to rapid disease progression or treatment-related mortality, there was no improvement in survival in those patients whose leukemia was detected in a state of MRD post-transplantation. Our results suggest that early intervention strategies targeting post-transplantation MRD for relapse prevention in acute leukemia may not be feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1000-1007
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • Leukemia
  • Minimal residual disease
  • Pediatrics
  • Relapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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