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      RT-qPCR versus Digital PCR: How Do They Impact Differently on Clinical Management of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients?

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          Abstract

          Real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) is the gold standard to quantify the BCR-ABL1 transcript for molecular response monitoring in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients, and it plays a pivotal role in clinical decision-making process, even if it presents technical limits. Increasing data suggest that digital PCR (dPCR) is more accurate and reliable than RT-qPCR in CML minimal residual disease monitoring and in patients’ selection for treatment discontinuation. But what about the identification of treatment discontinuation failures? We present the case of a CML patient enrolled both in a study aiming to comparatively assess molecular response by RT-qPCR and dPCR and in the progressive arm of the OPTkIMA trial. This is a phase III trial including CML patients randomized to receive a fixed versus a progressive intermittent tyrosine kinase inhibitor regimen. At 24 months, because of two consecutive detections of MR<sup>2.0</sup> by RT-qPCR, the patient resumed daily treatment. Conversely, dPCR revealed a stability of molecular response and even a slight decreasing of transcript over time. An additional specimen was sampled one month after the first MR<sup>2.0</sup> detection because of clinical decision: RT-qPCR resulted MR<sup>3.0</sup> and dPCR confirmed the transcript’s stability. Nowadays, the resumption of therapy is RT-qPCR-driven despite its limits in detection and robustness. In this case, according to dPCR, the patient could have continued intermittent treatment and the stability of response was then confirmed by RT-qPCR. So, dPCR could be able to better identify peculiar clinical response to therapy.

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          Most cited references 27

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          European LeukemiaNet recommendations for the management of chronic myeloid leukemia: 2013.

          Advances in chronic myeloid leukemia treatment, particularly regarding tyrosine kinase inhibitors, mandate regular updating of concepts and management. A European LeukemiaNet expert panel reviewed prior and new studies to update recommendations made in 2009. We recommend as initial treatment imatinib, nilotinib, or dasatinib. Response is assessed with standardized real quantitative polymerase chain reaction and/or cytogenetics at 3, 6, and 12 months. BCR-ABL1 transcript levels ≤10% at 3 months, 10% at 6 months and >1% from 12 months onward define failure, mandating a change in treatment. Similarly, partial cytogenetic response (PCyR) at 3 months and complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) from 6 months onward define optimal response, whereas no CyR (Philadelphia chromosome-positive [Ph+] >95%) at 3 months, less than PCyR at 6 months, and less than CCyR from 12 months onward define failure. Between optimal and failure, there is an intermediate warning zone requiring more frequent monitoring. Similar definitions are provided for response to second-line therapy. Specific recommendations are made for patients in the accelerated and blastic phases, and for allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Optimal responders should continue therapy indefinitely, with careful surveillance, or they can be enrolled in controlled studies of treatment discontinuation once a deeper molecular response is achieved.
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            European LeukemiaNet recommendations for the management and avoidance of adverse events of treatment in chronic myeloid leukaemia

            Most reports on chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) focus on efficacy, particularly on molecular response and outcome. In contrast, adverse events (AEs) are often reported as infrequent, minor, tolerable and manageable, but they are increasingly important as therapy is potentially lifelong and multiple TKIs are available. For this reason, the European LeukemiaNet panel for CML management recommendations presents an exhaustive and critical summary of AEs emerging during CML treatment, to assist their understanding, management and prevention. There are five major conclusions. First, the main purpose of CML treatment is the antileukemic effect. Suboptimal management of AEs must not compromise this first objective. Second, most patients will have AEs, usually early, mostly mild to moderate, and which will resolve spontaneously or are easily controlled by simple means. Third, reduction or interruption of treatment must only be done if optimal management of the AE cannot be accomplished in other ways, and frequent monitoring is needed to detect resolution of the AE as early as possible. Fourth, attention must be given to comorbidities and drug interactions, and to new events unrelated to TKIs that are inevitable during such a prolonged treatment. Fifth, some TKI-related AEs have emerged which were not predicted or detected in earlier studies, maybe because of suboptimal attention to or absence from the preclinical data. Overall, imatinib has demonstrated a good long-term safety profile, though recent findings suggest underestimation of symptom severity by physicians. Second and third generation TKIs have shown higher response rates, but have been associated with unexpected problems, some of which could be irreversible. We hope these recommendations will help to minimise adverse events, and we believe that an optimal management of them will be rewarded by better TKI compliance and thus better CML outcomes, together with better quality of life.
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              Chronic myeloid leukaemia.

               Jane Apperley (2015)
              In less than 10 years, the prognosis of chronic myeloid leukaemia has changed from that of a fatal disease to a disorder amenable simply to lifelong oral medication and compatible with a normal lifespan. This change has been made possible by a deep understanding of the molecular pathogenesis and a determination to develop targeted and selective drugs. This Seminar summarises the presentation, pathophysiology, diagnosis and monitoring technology, treatment options, side-effects, and outcomes of chronic myeloid leukaemia, and discusses the possibility of cure-ie, stable undetectable or low level disease in the absence of medication. Chronic myeloid leukaemia continues to instruct us in the mechanisms of leukaemogenesis and provides hope not only for similar developments in management of other malignancies, but also for the remarkable speed with which these can move from bench to bedside.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                CRO
                CRO
                10.1159/issn.1662-6575
                Case Reports in Ophthalmology
                S. Karger AG
                1662-6575
                2020
                September - December 2020
                15 October 2020
                : 13
                : 3
                : 1263-1269
                Affiliations
                aChair of Hematology, Unit of Blood Diseases and Stem Cell Transplantation, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia, Brescia, Italy
                bCREA Laboratory (Centro di Ricerca Emato-Oncologica AIL), ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia, Brescia, Italy
                Author notes
                *Simona Bernardi, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Viale Europa, 11, IT–25123 Brescia (Italy), simona.bernardi@unibs.it
                Article
                510440 Case Rep Oncol 2020;13:1263–1269
                10.1159/000510440
                7670369
                © 2020 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC). Usage and distribution for commercial purposes requires written permission. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Pages: 7
                Categories
                Case Report

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