The widespread use of PCR to quantify minimal residual disease has been hampered by the apparently wide variation in amplification efficiency (AE) of PCR primers. A new method to measure AE was developed on the basis of the Ct results of PCR amplification of single copies of a target molecule placed by limiting dilution into wells of a microplate. The mean one copy Ct of a population of primers or of a reference primer was calibrated against the AE determined by the standard method of regression analysis. The AE of a test primer could then be determined by relating its one copy Ct value to the calibrated mean one copy Ct value. This new method was much more precise than direct determination of AE by regression analysis. The AE of minimal residual disease primers, and of primers for eight other genes, was determined to be >95% and often close to 100%. A primer/plasmid standard was produced to enable transfer of the method to other laboratories. The one copy Ct method thus enables AE of a patient-specific primer to be simply and accurately determined.
- hematological neoplasms
- residual disease
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)