Blood tests may predict leukemia outcomes


April 19, 2010 (Montreal, Canada) - Adding a complete blood count test may help predict leukemia treatment outcomes, U.S. researchers say. 

Researchers at Houston's Children's Cancer Hospital at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center say combining the results of two separate blood tests -- the minimal residual disease indicator and the absolute lymphocyte count -- may help predict the leukemia patient outcomes. 

"Minimal residual diseases is an important tool for predicting prognosis but it misses a subgroup of patients who, despite having low minimal residual diseases, still are at high risk of relapse," first author Dr. Patrick Zweidler-McKay says in a statement. "Using the absolute lymphocyte count information, we can define which patients fall into this category. Down the line, we hope this information will allow us to alter treatment to help prevent these patients from relapsing." 

Zweidler-McKay and colleagues based the study on 171 pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia patients. 

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of The American Society of Pediatric hematology/Oncology in Montreal

Christine Bork
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