Background: Calreticulin (CALR) gene mutations are currently recommended as biomarkers in diagnosis of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) with Jak2 V617F negative phenotype. Our aim was to establish a rapid, low cost and sensitive assay for identification of CALR gene mutations and to validate the diagnostic performance of the established assay in a patient cohort with different clinical MPN phenotypes.
Methods: One hundred five Philadelphia-negative MPN patients, including polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythaemia (ET), and primary myelofibrosis (PMF) were initially screened for JAK2 mutations by amplification-refractory mutation system (ARMS-PCR) methodology and were further subjected to detection of CALR gene mutations by our in-house assay, a PCR based amplicon length differentiation assay (PCR-ALDA). The PCR-ALDA methodology was compared with real time PCR and Sanger sequencing methods. Furthermore, the analytical sensitivity of the assay was established.
Results: PCR - ALDA approach was able to detect and discriminate the pseudo-positive samples containing more than 1% CALR mutant alleles. CALR mutations were not detected in 63 Jak2 V617F positive cases in all three methods. In contrast, amongst 42 Jak2 V617F negative cases, both PCR-ALDA and Sanger sequencing coherently identified 12 CALR mutants compared to 10 CALR mutants detected by real-time PCR method.
Conclusion: PCR-ALDA can be utilized as an easy-to-use, rapid, low cost and sensitive tool in the detection of CALR mutations in Philadelphia-negative MPN patients.
Keywords: CALR mutations; JAK2 V617F; Myeloproliferative neoplasms.