Automated detection of residual cells after sex-mismatched stem-cell transplantation - evidence for presence of disease-marker negative residual cells.
A new chimerism analysis based on automated interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) evaluation was established to detect residual cells after allogene sex-mismatched bone marrow or blood stem-cell transplantation.Cells of 58 patients were characterized as disease-associated due to presence of a bcr/abl-gene-fusion or a trisomy 8 and/or a simultaneous hybridization of gonosome-specific centromeric probes. The automatic slide scanning platform Metafer with its module MetaCyte was used to analyse 3,000 cells per sample. RESULTS: Overall 454 assays of 58 patients were analyzed. 13 of 58 patients showed residual recipient cells at one stage of more than 4% and 12 of 58 showed residual recipient cells less than 4%, respectively. As to be expected, patients of the latter group were associated with a higher survival rate (48 vs. 34 month). In only two of seven patients with disease-marker positive residual cells between 0.1-1.3% a relapse was observed. Besides, disease-marker negative residual cells were found in two patients without relapse at a rate of 2.8% and 3.3%, respectively. CONCLUSION: The definite origin and meaning of disease-marker negative residual cells is still unclear. Overall, with the presented automatic chimerism analysis of interphase FISH slides, a sensitive method for detection of disease-marker positive residual cells is on hand.