Patients with chronic myeloid leukemia harbor the chromosomal translocation t(9;22), which corresponds to fusion of the BCR and ABL genes at the DNA level. The translated fusion product is an oncogenic protein with increased ABL tyrosine kinase activity causing cell transformation. To date, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction is considered the most sensitive method available for detecting low copy numbers of the BCR-ABL gene fusion. Recently, Cepheid introduced its GeneXpert-based assay for the identification of the BCR-ABL gene fusion in cells from blood samples. This system comprises a walkaway self-contained instrument that combines cartridge-based microfluidic sample preparation with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction-based fluorescent signal detection and BCR-ABL and ABL Ct (threshold cycle) determination. The difference between the BCR-ABL Ct and ABL Ct (ΔCt) is expected to represent the ratio of the two populations of mRNAs and ultimately the percentage of neoplastic cells present. We tested whether this BCR-ABL fusion detection system could be used as a clinical diagnostic tool for monitoring patients with minimal residual disease of chronic myelogenous leukemia. We report similar performance characteristics, including limit of detection, specificity, sensitivity, and precision, of this automated BCR-ABL fusion detection system to those of a manual TaqMan reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction-based test.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Medicine