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Friday 01 February 2002

Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for monitoring minimal residual disease in patients with advanced indolent lymphomas treated with rituximab, fludarabine, mitoxantrone, and dexamethasone.

By: Sarris AH, Jiang Y, Tsimberidou AM, Thomaides A, Rassidakis GZ, Ford RJ, Medeiros LJ, Cabanillas F, McLaughlin P.

Semin Oncol 2002 Feb;29(1 Suppl 2):48-55

Fludarabine and rituximab (Rituxan; Genentech, Inc, South San Francisco, CA, and IDEC Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, CA) are active against indolent lymphomas. We have previously shown the safety and efficacy of the combination of FND (fludarabine/mitoxantrone/dexamethasone) in relapsed and subsequently untreated patients with stage IV indolent lymphomas. Currently, we treat patients with stage IV indolent lymphomas who are previously untreated, younger than 60 years, human immunodeficiency virus-negative, and have adequate organ and marrow function with FND and random assignment to concurrent or delayed administration of rituximab. We have developed a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for t(14;18). With 1 microg of DNA, this assay detects 0.6 copies in 55% of reactions, as expected for the Poisson distribution. When 1microg of DNA was analyzed in duplicate, cells with the t(14;18) were detected in peripheral blood of 22% of 152 volunteer blood donors. Quantitation showed that numbers of t(14;18) cells were higher than the statistical upper normal limit (mean of all volunteer values plus standard deviations) in 2% of volunteer blood donors. By contrast, 36% of blood or marrow specimens from follicular lymphoma patients were positive, and the number of cells with t(14;18) was higher than the normal upper limit in 26%. The presence of cells with t(14;18) and their numbers are prospectively quantitated in blood and marrow of patients treated with FND plus rituximab to determine their clinical significance both at presentation and during therapy. Copyright 2002 by W.B. Saunders Company.

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