Leukemia & lymphoma

Higher percentage of CD34 + CD38- cells detected by multiparameter flow cytometry from leukapheresis products predicts unsustained complete remission in acute myeloid leukemia.

PMID 24884314


Relapse in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) after chemotherapy reflects the persistence of resistant leukemia stem cells (LSCs). These cells have been described in the CD34 + CD38- cell fraction. Leukapheresis products were harvested in 123 patients in morphological complete remission and analyzed by multiparameter flow cytometry. The CD34 + CD38- cell population showed a prognostic impact on survival. Median event-free survival (EFS) was 8.2 months (3-year EFS: 29%) for those with a higher percentage of CD34 + CD38- versus 91.9 months (3-year EFS: 62%) for those with a lower percentage for the entire cohort. These differences were confirmed in patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplant, with median EFS of 7.3 months versus 91.1 months (3-year EFS: 31% vs. 70%). Higher proportions of CD34 + CD38- cells were associated with adverse cytogenetics and with earlier relapses. Higher percentages of CD34 + CD38- cells in apheresis products reflect inadequate in vivo purging and reliably distinguish samples enriched in LSCs from those involving mainly normal cells.