After induction or consolidation chemotherapy, patients in morphological complete remission can still have residual leukemic cells (i.e. minimal residual disease, MRD). MRD positivity is associated to an increased risk of relapse and a poorer clinical outcome. Currently, MRD is tested either by flow cytometry (leukemia- associated immunophenotype) or by RT-qPCR (aberrantly expressed gene, fusion transcript or mutation). However, a good MRD test is lacking in several AML subgroups.
To address this issue, we are using RNA-sequencing data from our large cohort of AML samples and comparing it to sorted cell populations from normal peripheral blood and bone marrow specimens, to identify new leukemia-specific genes, which could represent better MRD markers.