Sensitive Measurement of Minimal Residual Disease in Blood by HAT-PCR

Sue Latham, Elizabeth Hughes, Brad Budgen, David Ross, Matthew Greenwood, Kenneth Bradstock, Luciano Dallapozza, Libby Huang, Tamara Law, Louise Doculara, Shahid Ullah, Rosemary Sutton, Alexander A Morley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PCR is widely used to measure minimal residual disease (MRD) in lymphoid neoplasms, but its sensitivity is limited. High Adenine/Thymine PCR and High Annealing Temperature PCR (HAT-PCR) is a modified PCR designed to minimize nonspecificity and hence increase sensitivity. It was evaluated in the laboratory and the clinic, using samples from 58 patients. Of these patients, 57 were adolescents or young adults who were participating in the Australasian Leukemia and Lymphoma Group ALL06 trial in which MRD was measured in blood principally by HAT-PCR and in marrow by conventional PCR. HAT-PCR produced significantly less nonspecificity than conventional PCR, and its limit of detection was <10 −6 in 90% of patients. In 196 samples, an excellent correlation was found between blood and marrow MRD. Variable partitioning of leukemic cells between blood and marrow was observed. Measurement of MRD in blood by HAT-PCR was noninferior to measurement of MRD in marrow by conventional PCR, in terms of both detecting disease and predicting clinical outcome. At a median follow-up of 3 years and for MRD levels in blood at the end of consolidation treatment, an MRD level of >10 −4 cells/L significantly predicted relapse and mortality, whereas undetectable MRD significantly predicted relapse-free survival and overall survival. HAT-PCR is a simple, quick, cheap and sensitive method for measurement of MRD, and its adoption for MRD in blood may be clinically useful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-641
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Minimal Residual Disease
  • Blood


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