Imperial College London

Mary Alikian

Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Honorary Lecturer







Hammersmith HospitalHammersmith Campus





Publication Type

2 results found

Alikian M, Whale AS, Akiki S, Piechocki K, Torrado C, Myint T, Cowen S, Griffiths M, Reid AG, Apperley J, White H, Huggett JF, Foroni Let al., 2017, RT-qPCR and RT-Digital PCR: a comparison of different platforms for the evaluation of residual disease in chronic myeloid leukemia, Clinical Chemistry, Vol: 63, Pages: 525-531, ISSN: 1530-8561

BACKGROUND: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are the cornerstone of successful clinical management of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Quantitative monitoring of the percentage of the BCR, RhoGEF, and GTPase activating protein-ABL proto-oncogene 1, non-receptor tyrosine kinase fusion transcript BCR-ABL1(IS) (%BCR-ABL1(IS)) by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) is the gold standard strategy for evaluating patient response to TKIs and classification into prognostic subgroups. However, this approach can be challenging to perform in a reproducible manner. Reverse-transcription digital PCR (RT-dPCR) is an adaptation of this method that could provide the robust and standardized workflow needed for truly standardized patient stratification. METHODS: BCR-ABL1 and ABL1 transcript copy numbers were quantified in a total of 102 samples; 70 CML patients undergoing TKI therapy and 32 non-CML individuals. 3 commercially available digital PCR platforms (QS3D, QX200 and Raindrop) were compared with the platform routinely used in the clinic for RT-qPCR using the EAC (Europe Against Cancer) assay. RESULTS: Measurements on all instruments correlated well when the %BCR-ABL1(IS) was ≥0.1%. In patients with residual disease below this level, greater variations were measured both within and between instruments limiting comparable performance to a 4 log dynamic range. CONCLUSIONS: RT-dPCR was able to quantify low-level BCR-ABL1 transcript copies but was unable to improve sensitivity below the level of detection achieved by RT-qPCR. However, RT-dPCR was able to perform these sensitive measurements without use of a calibration curve. Adaptions to the protocol to increase the amount of RNA measured are likely to be necessary to improve the analytical sensitivity of BCR-ABL testing on a dPCR platform.

Journal article

Alikian MA, Peter Ellery PE, Martin Forbes MF, Gareth Gerrard GG, Dalia Kasperaviciute DK, Alona Sosinsky AS, Michael Mueller MM, Alexandra Whale AW, Dragana Milojkovic DM, Jane Apperley JA, Jim Huggett JH, Letizia Foroni LF, Alistair G Reid ARet al., 2016, Next-Generation Sequencing-Assisted DNA-Based Digital PCR for a Personalized Approach to the Detection and Quantification of Residual Disease in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients, Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, Vol: 18, Pages: 176-189, ISSN: 1943-7811

Recent studies indicate that 40% of chronic myeloid leukemia patients who achieve sustained undetectable BCR-ABL1 transcripts on tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy remain disease-free after drug discontinuation. In contrast, 60% experience return of detectable disease and have to restart treatment, thus highlighting the need for an improved method of identifying patients with the lowest likelihood of relapse. Here we describe the validation of a personalized DNA-based digital PCR (dPCR) approach for quantifying very low levels of residual disease, which involves the rapid identification of t(9;22) fusion junctions using targeted next-generation sequencing coupled with the use of a dPCR platform. t(9;22) genomic breakpoints were successfully mapped in samples from 32 of 32 patients with early stage disease. Disease quantification by DNA-based dPCR was performed using the Fluidigm BioMark platform on 46 follow-up samples from 6 of the 32 patients, including 36 samples that were in deep molecular remission. dPCR detected persistent disease in 81% of molecular-remission samples, outperforming both RT-dPCR (25%) and DNA-based quantitative PCR (19%). We conclude that dPCR for BCR-ABL1 DNA is the most sensitive available method of residual-disease detection in chronic myeloid leukemia and may prove useful in the management of tyrosine kinase inhibitor withdrawal.

Journal article

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