To identify new markers of minimal residual disease (MRD) in B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), gene expression of leukemic cells obtained from 4 patients with newly diagnosed ALL was compared with that of normal CD19+CD10+ B-cell progenitors obtained from 2 healthy donors. By cDNA array analysis, 334 of 4132 genes studied were expressed 1.5- to 5.8-fold higher in leukemic cells relative to both normal samples; 238 of these genes were also overexpressed in the leukemic cell line RS4;11. Nine genes were selected among the 274 overexpressed in at least 2 leukemic samples, and expression of the encoded proteins was measured by flow cytometry. Two proteins (caldesmon and myeloid nuclear differentiation antigen) were only weakly expressed in leukemic cells despite strong hybridization signals in the array. By contrast, 7 proteins (CD58, creatine kinase B, ninjurin1, Ref1, calpastatin, HDJ-2, and annexin VI) were expressed in B-lineage ALL cells at higher levels than in normal CD19+CD10+ B-cell progenitors (P < .05 in all comparisons). CD58 was chosen for further analysis because of its abundant and prevalent overexpression. An anti-CD58 antibody identified residual leukemic cells (0.01% to 1.13%; median, 0.03%) in 9 of 104 bone marrow samples from children with ALL in clinical remission. MRD estimates by CD58 staining correlated well with those of polymerase chain reaction amplification of immunoglobulin genes. These results indicate that studies of gene expression with cDNA arrays can aid the discovery of leukemia markers.
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