PCR Technology to Identify Minimal Residual Disease

Methods Mol Biol. 2021;2185:77-94. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0810-4_6.


Although new techniques (i.e., droplet digital-PCR, next-generation sequencing, advanced flow cytometry) are being developed, DNA-based allele-specific real-time quantitative (RQ)-PCR is still the gold standard for sensitive and accurate immunoglobulin/T cell receptor (IG/TR)-based minimal residual disease (MRD) monitoring, allowing the detection of up to 1 leukemic cell in 100,000 normal lymphoid cells. We herewith describe the standard PCR procedure which has been developed and standardized (with minor modification in single labs) through the last 20 years of activity of the EuroMRD Consortium, a volunteer activity of expert laboratories that is continuously providing education, standardization, quality control rounds, and guidelines for interpretation of RQ-PCR data.

Keywords: Immunoglobulin; Minimal residual disease; RQ-PCR; Rearrangement; T cell receptor.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / genetics
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell* / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell* / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell* / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell* / metabolism


  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell