Measurable residual disease monitoring for patients with acute myeloid leukemia following hematopoietic cell transplantation using error corrected hybrid capture next generation sequencing

PLoS One. 2019 Oct 28;14(10):e0224097. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224097. eCollection 2019.


Improved systems for detection of measurable residual disease (MRD) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are urgently needed, however attempts to utilize broad-scale next-generation sequencing (NGS) panels to perform multi-gene surveillance in AML post-induction have been stymied by persistent premalignant mutation-bearing clones. We hypothesized that this technology may be more suitable for evaluation of fully engrafted patients following hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). To address this question, we developed a hybrid-capture NGS panel utilizing unique molecular identifiers (UMIs) to detect variants at 0.1% VAF or below across 22 genes frequently mutated in myeloid disorders and applied it to a retrospective sample set of blood and bone marrow DNA samples previously evaluated as negative for disease via standard-of-care short tandem repeat (STR)-based engraftment testing and hematopathology analysis in our laboratory. Of 30 patients who demonstrated trackable mutations in the 22 genes at eventual relapse by standard NGS analysis, we were able to definitively detect relapse-associated mutations in 18/30 (60%) at previously disease-negative timepoints collected 20-100 days prior to relapse date. MRD was detected in both bone marrow (15/28, 53.6%) and peripheral blood samples (9/18, 50%), while showing excellent technical specificity in our sample set. We also confirmed the disappearance of all MRD signal with increasing time prior to relapse (>100 days), indicating true clinical specificity, even using genes commonly associated with clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP). This study highlights the efficacy of a highly sensitive, NGS panel-based approach to early detection of relapse in AML and supports the clinical validity of extending MRD analysis across many genes in the post-transplant setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

Reagents and supplies used in the study were purchased using funds from the AbbVie- Uchicago collaboration grant C101076 awarded to JPS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The salaries for all personnel listed was paid for by the University of Chicago. There was no additional external funding received for this study.