Applicability and reproducibility of acute myeloid leukaemia stem cell assessment in a multi-centre setting.
Hanekamp D., Snel AN., Kelder A., Scholten WJ., Khan N., Metzner M., Irno-Consalvo M., Sugita M., de Jong A., Oude Alink S., Eidhof H., Wilhelm M., Feuring-Buske M., Slomp J., van der Velden VHJ., Sonneveld E., Guzman M., Roboz GJ., Buccisano F., Vyas P., Freeman S., Bachas C., Ossenkoppele GJ., Schuurhuis GJ., Cloos J.
Leukaemic stem cells (LSC) have been experimentally defined as the leukaemia-propagating population and are thought to be the cellular reservoir of relapse in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Therefore, LSC measurements are warranted to facilitate accurate risk stratification. Previously, we published the composition of a one-tube flow cytometric assay, characterised by the presence of 13 important membrane markers for LSC detection. Here we present the validation experiments of the assay in several large AML research centres, both in Europe and the United States. Variability within instruments and sample processing showed high correlations between different instruments (Rpearson > 0·91, P < 0·001). Multi-centre testing introduced variation in reported LSC percentages but was found to be below the clinical relevant threshold. Clear gating protocols resulted in all laboratories being able to perform LSC assessment of the validation set. Participating centres were nearly unanimously able to distinguish LSChigh (>0·03% LSC) from LSClow (<0·03% LSC) despite inter-laboratory variation in reported LSC percentages. This study proves that the LSC assay is highly reproducible. These results together with the high prognostic impact of LSC load at diagnosis in AML patients render the one-tube LSC assessment a good marker for future risk classification.