Mitochondrial DNA in Residual Leukemia Cells in Cerebrospinal Fluid in Children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Kathryn Egan, Ian Kusao, David Troelstrup, Melissa Agsalda, Bruce Shiramizu


This feasibility study was designed to assess the ability to measure mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cells that contributed to minimal disease/persistent or residual disease (MD/PRD) from children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Increase in mtDNA copies in cancer cells has been suggested to play a role in MD/PRD. CSF as well as blood specimens from 6 children were assayed for MD/PRD and mtDNA copy numbers by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Of 7 MD/PRD-positive specimens, 6 had increased mtDNA copy numbers; while 11 MD/PRD-negative specimens had no increase in mtDNA copy numbers, p < 0.003. This is the first proof-of-concept study to measure mtDNA copy numbers in MD/PRD-positive CSF specimens from children with ALL. Increase of mtDNA copy numbers in MD/PRD childhood ALL cells and its significance as a mechanism for recurrence requires further investigation.



Minimal residual disease; Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Central nervous system; Cerebrospinal fluid; Mitochondria

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