1 Published Ahead of Print on December 24, 2015, as doi: /haematol Copyright 2015 Ferrata Storti Foundation. Minimal Residual Disease monitoring by 8-color flow cytometry in Mantle Cell Lymphoma: an EU-MCL and LYSA study by Morgane Cheminant, Coralie Derrieux, Aurore Touzart, Stéphanie Schmit, Adrien Grenier, Amélie Trinquand, Marie-Hélène Delfau-Larue, Ludovic Lhermitte, Catherine Thieblemont, Vincent Ribrag, Stéphane Cheze, Laurence Sanhes, Fabrice Jardin, François Lefrère, Richard Delarue, Eva Hoster, Martin Dreyling, Vahid Asnafi, Olivier Hermine, and Elizabeth Macintyre Haematologica 2015 [Epub ahead of print] Citation: Cheminant M, Derrieux C, Touzart A, Schmit S, Grenier A, Trinquand A, Delfau-Larue MH, Lhermitte L, Thieblemont C, Ribrag V, Cheze S, Sanhes L, Jardin F, Lefrère F, Delarue R, Hoster E, Dreyling M, Asnafi V, Hermine O, and Macintyre E. Minimal Residual Disease monitoring by 8-color flow cytometry in Mantle Cell Lymphoma: an EU-MCL and LYSA study. Haematologica. 2015; 100:xxx doi: /haematol Publisher's Disclaimer. E-publishing ahead of print is increasingly important for the rapid dissemination of science. Haematologica is, therefore, E-publishing PDF files of an early version of manuscripts that have completed a regular peer review and have been accepted for publication. E-publishing of this PDF file has been approved by the authors. After having E-published Ahead of Print, manuscripts will then undergo technical and English editing, typesetting, proof correction and be presented for the authors' final approval; the final version of the manuscript will then appear in print on a regular issue of the journal. All legal disclaimers that apply to the journal also pertain to this production process.
2 Minimal Residual Disease monitoring by 8-color flow cytometry in Mantle Cell Lymphoma: an EU-MCL and LYSA study Authors: Morgane Cheminant 1,2, Coralie Derrieux 1, Aurore Touzart 1, Stéphanie Schmit 1, Adrien Grenier 1, Amélie Trinquand 1, Marie-Hélène Delfau-Larue 3, Ludovic Lhermitte 1, Catherine Thieblemont 4, Vincent Ribrag 5, Stéphane Cheze 6, Laurence Sanhes 7, Fabrice Jardin 8, François Lefrère 2, Richard Delarue 2, Eva Hoster 9,10, Martin Dreyling 10, Vahid Asnafi 1, Olivier Hermine 2 and Elizabeth Macintyre 1 Affiliations: 1 Biological Hematology, Paris Descartes Sorbonne Paris Cité University, Institut Necker-Enfants Malades, AP-HP, Paris, France; 2 Clinical Hematology, Paris Descartes Sorbonne Paris Cité University, IMAGINE Institut, Necker Hospital, AP-HP, Paris, France; 3 Biological Hematology and immunology, AP-HP, Groupe hospitalier Mondor, Créteil, France; 4 Hemato-Oncology, Saint-Louis Hospital, APHP Paris Diderot Sorbonne Paris Cité University - INSERM U728 Institut Universitaire d'hematologie, Paris, France; 5 Département de Médecine, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France; 6 Clinical Hematology, University Hospital of Caen, Caen, France; 7 Clinical Hematology, Perpignan Hospital, Perpignan; 8 Clinical Hematology, INSERM U918, IRIB, Centre Henri Becquerel, Rouen, France; 9 Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometry, and Epidemiology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany; 10 Department of Internal Medicine III, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany Correspondence: Pr Elizabeth Macintyre, Department of Biological Hematology, Necker Hospital, 149 rue de Sèvres, Paris, France.
3 Phone number: +33(0) Fax number: +33(0) Funding: This work was supported by the Institut National du Cancer (INCa) PAIR Lymphoma program on Mantle Cell Lymphoma and by the Lymphoma Study Association (LYSA). Running title: MRD by flow cytometry in Mantle Cell Lymphoma Keywords: Mantle Cell Lymphoma, Minimal Residual Disease, Multiparameter Flow Cytometry, Pre-emptive treatment, Rituximab. Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT and NCT Text word count: 3958 Abstract word count: 242 Number of figures: 7 Number of tables: 1 Number of references: 31 Key Points: d The use of a single, 8-color multiparameter flow cytometry tube allows specific MRD assessment in MCL patients, with a robust sensitivity of d Multiparameter flow cytometry MRD may be a useful complement to RQ- PCR in individual patient management. Conflicts of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
4 Abstract Quantification of minimal residual disease may guide therapeutic strategies in mantle cell lymphoma. While multiparameter flow cytometry is used for diagnosis, the gold standard method for minimal residual disease analysis is real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR). In this EU-MCL network pilot study, we compared flow cytometry with RQ-PCR for minimal residual disease detection. Of 113 patients with at least one minimal residual disease sample, RQ-PCR was applicable in 97 (86%). A total of 284 minimal residual disease samples from 61 patients were analyzed in parallel by flow cytometry and RQ-PCR. A single, 8-color, 10-antibody flow cytometry tube allowed specific minimal residual disease assessment in all patients, with a robust sensitivity of 0.01%. Using this cutoff level, the true-positive-rate of flow cytometry with respect to RQ-PCR was 80%, whereas the true-negative-rate was 92%. As expected, RQ-PCR frequently detected positivity below this 0.01% threshold, which is insufficiently sensitive for prognostic evaluation and would ideally be replaced with robust quantification down to a 0.001% (10-5 ) threshold. In ten relapsing patients, the transition from negative to positive by RQ- PCR (median 22.5 months before relapse) virtually always preceded transition by flow cytometry (4.5 months), but transition to RQ-PCR positivity above 0.01% (5 months) was simultaneous. Pre-emptive rituximab treatment of 2 patients at minimal residual disease relapse allowed re-establishment of molecular and phenotypic complete remission. Flow cytometry minimal residual disease is a complementary approach to RQ-PCR and a promising tool in individual mantle cell lymphoma therapeutic management. Trial identifier: NCT and NCT
5 Introduction Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) is characterized by an advanced stage of disease at diagnosis, with most patients demonstrating peripheral blood or bone marrow infiltration. Historically, overall survival was short, but use of monoclonal anti-cd20 antibody and intensive treatment, including high-dose cytarabine and autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT) have improved prognosis. 1 7 Novel strategies, such as maintenance or preemptive treatment, may improve progression free survival and prevent clinical relapse 8 10 but are best used in combination with precise, reproducible, quantification of minimal residual disease (MRD). 11 In the EU-MCL study, multivariate analysis showed that MRD status at the end of induction is one of the strongest independent prognostic factors. 2,11 Moreover, MRD-based preemptive rituximab therapy restored PCR-negativity in 81% of MCL patients. 8 The gold standard for monitoring MRD in MCL is real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) amplification of clonal immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) VDJ or IgH-BCL1 rearrangements, which are informative in 90% and 40% of patients respectively. 8,12 Classical IgH or BCL1-IgH allele specific oligonucleotide (ASO)-based strategies use diagnostic DNA with a known level of infiltration 27, as defined by multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC), for construction of a standard curve. This approach can be difficult for samples in which the infiltration is very low (below 1%), not known, (eg. lymph node DNA), or in samples with unreliable MFC. It is necessary to distinguish quantifiable positivity from low level MRD positivity. For this reason, it is common practice to specify for each patient undergoing RQ-PCR both the level of sensitivity of detection and the quantifiable range (QR), with values below the quantifiable range (BQR) but above sensitivity
6 being positive but unquantifiable. These techniques are relatively long, costly and require significant expertise, justifying alternative MRD quantification techniques. Multi-color flow cytometry (MFC) assays with at least 6 colors have been applied to MRD monitoring in acute lymphoblastic leukemia 13,14, multiple myeloma 15 17, chronic lymphocytic leukemia 18 and hairy cell leukemia. 19 To date, there are no established criteria for MRD quantification by MFC in MCL. An MCL four-color panel using surface light chain restriction in the CD19+CD5+ subpopulation lacked sensitivity for MRD quantification, being inferior to consensus, qualitative PCR. 20 We therefore developed a single, eight-color MFC tube for use in MCL and performed a pilot study on samples collected prospectively for molecular RQ-PCR MRD monitoring in EU-MCL patients. We analyzed the suitability of 8-color MFC for regular MRD evaluation, with a view to preemptive treatment on MRD relapse.
7 Methods Patients and samples Patients with previously untreated, histologically confirmed MCL of Ann Arbor stages II-IV were registered to one of two randomized EU-MCL clinical trials according to age and eligibility to receive an ASCT: patients up to 65 years of age to the MCL Younger trial (NCT ) 2 and patients older than 60 years to the MCL Elderly trial (NCT ) 9. Both protocols were approved by the institutional review boards of all participating institutions and were conducted according to the declaration of Helsinki. Peripheral blood (PB) and/or bone marrow (BM) samples were collected at diagnosis, midterm staging, end-of-induction and post-induction at 2-3-monthly intervals until clinical relapse in both trials 2,9,11. Full details of treatment are given in supplementary data. Response duration (RD) was defined only for patients who achieved at least a partial response (PR) after induction treatment and was calculated as the period from the completion of induction to documented progression or death from any cause, which were both considered as an event. Statistical analyses are detailed in supplementary data. MRD analysis in France was centralized in 2 reference centers, one of which (Necker Hospital) performed the comparison presented here. The comparison of MFC and RQ-PCR was performed for patients with diagnostic and at least one follow-up. The number of samples analyzed by these techniques is indicated in supplementary Table 1. Multiparameter Flow Cytometry Eight-color MFC was performed prospectively at diagnosis on fresh cells after Ficollseparation, but on thawed cryopreserved cell for MRD samples. The cells were
8 stained with a conjugated monoclonal antibody combination using CD3/CD14/CD56- (FITC), LAIR-1/CD305-(PE), CD19-(PeCy7), CD5-(PerCPCy5.5), CD11A-(APC), Lambda (Alexa700), Kappa (Pacific Blue) and CD45 (V500). All antibodies were from Becton-Dickinson (San Jose, CA, USA) except Kappa and Lambda (Exbio, Prague, Czech-Republic). MFC was performed on a FACS canto-ii flow cytometer with DIVA software (Becton-Dickinson, USA) and standardized Euroflow instrument settings. 21 For MRD assessment, 10 6 viable cells were stained with the diagnostic antibody panel and at least non-gated events were acquired. In accordance with studies on MRD in acute leukemia 24 26, positive MFC MRD was defined by a homogenous cluster (at least 20 events) with the LAIP and scatter properties defined at diagnosis. MRD was quantified by dividing the number of MCL cells by the total number of events acquired (supplementary Figure 1). PCR-based MRD analysis DNA from PB or BM was extracted by standard techniques and identification of clonal IgH rearrangement assessed using qualitative IgH-VDJ FR1 and FR2 consensus PCR on DNA extracted from the mononuclear fraction used for MFC. Gene scanning and sequence analyses (ABI prism automated sequencer Applied Biosystems, San Francisco, CA) and ASO clone specific PCR were performed as described 27 adapted for lymphoma 11, with identification of minimal sensitivity and QR for each patient. The minimum sensitivity considered acceptable was 10-4 (0.01%). Positive RQ-PCR MRD results were quantified if within the QR, and considered as BQR if below this range. All analyses were performed using a 1Ct RQ- PCR cut-off from background (see Supplementary Table S3 for details), which
9 maximizes the number of BQR samples. BQR samples were separated on the number of positive triplicate wells.
10 Results Sensitivity and specificity of MCL cell detection by Multiparameter Flow Cytometry We initially evaluated an antibody panel allowing assessment of tumor infiltration and identification of Leukemia Associated Immuno Phenotype (LAIP) on 51 cryopreserved diagnostic EU-MCL samples (experimental cohort). We combined the LAIR-1 and CD11a antibodies described in Euroflow standardization protocols 21 with a standard backbone in a 10 antibody-8 color-single tube. LAIR-1 and CD11a are expressed on normal blood B-lymphocytes and other chronic B lymphoproliferations but not MCL 20,22,23. The backbone included well-defined antibodies previously used in 4-color MCL MRD strategies: CD45, CD19, CD5, Kappa and Lambda light chains, CD3, CD14 and CD56. Peripheral blood cells from 10 healthy donors were used as normal controls to evaluate the specificity and sensitivity of the antigenic combination. Lymphocytes were identified by FSC/SSC properties and high CD45 expression. After exclusion of doublets, CD14+ monocytes, CD56+ NK cells and CD3+ T-lymphocytes, MCL B-cells were selected on a CD19/CD5 plot. The expression of CD11a and LAIR-1 and Kappa/Lambda isotypic restriction were then evaluated (Figure 2). Polyclonal B CD19+/CD5+ lymphocytes from 10 healthy donors expressed higher levels of both CD11a (MFI: median [range]: 1729 [ ]) and LAIR-1 (1859 [ ]) compared to MCL samples, allowing the definition of a physiologic B-cell area. In the 51 MCL patients, the intensity of expression (MFI: median [range]) of CD11a and LAIR-1 on pathological B-cells were lower (681 [ ] and 416 [ ]), respectively. In 41/51 (80%) cases, MCL
11 cells expressed low levels of CD11a and LAIR-1 and fell in an area defined as the mantle box (lower left quadrant in Figure 3). In the remaining cases, 5/51 (10%) were CD11a low /LAIR-1 high or CD11a high /LAIR-1 low. No CD11a high /LAIR-1 high cases were detected (Figure 3). As such, the association of CD11a and LAIR-1 rescued cases with high expression of one of these antigens, increasing LAIP discrimination power in comparison to a CD19/CD5/Kappa/Lambda combination. Among the 51 MCL cases, 49 (96%) were detected outside the physiologic B-cell area. Only 2 (4%) expressed CD11a and LAIR-1 levels close to those of normal B-cells but light chain isotypic restriction allowed accurate MRD evaluation for these cases. Thus, the single tube antibody panel allowed the identification of at least one specific LAIP in almost all MCL cases tested (49/51 (96%)). We then evaluated the specificity and sensitivity of this single tube on 10 normal blood samples. Analysis of cells gave less than non-specific events in the mantle box (range 32 [ ] to 63 [ ] events), giving a theoretical sensitivity of at least 0.01%/10-4 (supplementary Figure 1 and supplementary Table 2). Serial dilutions of diagnostic samples in normal PB showed that the sensitivity of discrimination of mantle cells from polyclonal background was 10-4 (data not shown). These data demonstrate that the use of a single, 8-color MFC tube allows specific flow cytometric MRD assessment in all patients tested, with a robust sensitivity of Assessment of MCL by Multiparameter Flow Cytometry 195 diagnostic samples (115 PB and 80 BM) from 116 EU-MCL patients (including the 51 aforementioned samples) were analyzed with the MFC panel. No lymphoma cells were detected, with a 10-2 sensitivity, in 20 diagnostic samples (10 PB, 10 BM)
12 from 11 MCL patients. MFC MRD was not performed for these patients. Infiltration at diagnosis was at least 1% in 164/175 (94%) samples (97/105 PB, 67/70 BM), with a median of 16%. Lower level infiltration between 0.01% and 0.9% was seen in 11 samples (supplementary Figure 2). At least one LAIP, based on low CD11a and/or LAIR expression and Kappa/Lambda restriction, was identified in 175 samples, allowing MRD evaluation with a robust sensitivity of 0.01%/10-4 in 105/116 (91%) patients. A total of 294 MRD samples (211 PB and 83 BM) were quantified by MFC at time points specified in supplementary Table 1. Overall, MRD was undetectable, below 0.01%, in 236 (80%) samples (172 PB, 64 BM). MFC positivity was detected in 58 (20%) samples (39 PB, 19 BM), with 34 samples between %, 11 between % and 13 up to 1%. Assessment of MCL by RQ-PCR At least one diagnostic PB, BM or lymph node sample was submitted for prospective RQ-PCR from 131 MCL patients, of which at least one MRD sample was available for 113. Nine (8%) patients had no available tissue DNA, less than 1% infiltration by MCL cells by MFC and no clearly detectable clonal population by IgH-VDJ and BCL1-IgH PCR. It was not possible to sequence, or to obtain an ASO IgH or BCL1- IgH RQ-PCR system with acceptable sensitivity in 7 patients, despite at least 1% infiltration by MFC. In the remaining 97/113 (86%) patients, the RQ-PCR strategy was sufficiently sensitive (minimum 0.01%) and specific for MRD quantification (Figure 1). These 97 patients underwent RQ-PCR MRD quantification (Figure 1), of IgH-VDJ targets in 92, BCL1-IgH in 5 and both in 11. Although the RQ-PCR
13 sensitivity was below 0.01% in all patients, the QR was above 0.01% in 26 patients (27%). It was between 0.02% and 0.05% in 19 and between 0.06% and 0.2% in 7. Qualitative PCR allowed identification of a distinct clonal peak which could be sequenced in 95% (99/104) of diagnostic samples with a MFC population >1%, but also in 9 samples for whom MFC was lower than 1% and 14 patients for whom MFC was not possible, including 7 lymph node DNA samples. In these patients, the diagnostic sample infiltration used for the patient-specific standard curves construction was deduced from its RQ-PCR CT value, using a MFC/PCR regression curve obtained from 100 diagnostic PB/BM MCL samples with at least 1% infiltration by MFC (supplementary Figure 3). This increased the number of patients accessible to RQ-PCR MRD from 74 (65%) to 97 (86%) of the 113 EU-MCL patients with at least one MRD sample. Sub-optimal QR were no more frequent in these patients (5/23, 22%) compared to those with MFC values above 1% (21/74, 28%). A total of 894 MRD samples (639 PB and 255 BM) from 97 EU-MCL patients were quantified by RQ-PCR (Figure 4 and supplementary Table 1 for time points), of which 173 (19%) were positive quantifiable, 180 (20%) positive below the quantifiable range (BQR) and 541 (61%) negative. As such, half the positive MRD samples were within the low level non-quantifiable range. We therefore compared IgH-VDJ RQ-PCR with MFC assessment and with RQ-PCR quantification of BCL1- IgH, distinguishing BQR samples on the number of positive wells within the triplicates analyzed. Comparison of RQ-PCR and MFC MRD values
14 MFC was compared with RQ-PCR in 284 samples (207 PB and 77 BM) from 61 patients (32 younger and 29 elderly). These included 153 of 541 (28%) RQ-PCR negative and 131 of 355 (37%) RQ-PCR positive samples (Figure 1). Using cutoff levels of at least 0.01% positivity for RQ-PCR, 80% (39/49) of samples were also positive by MFC (Cohen s kappa of , P<0.0001), giving a true-positive rate of MFC MRD evaluation of 80% and a true-negative rate of 92% (Table 1). Below this level, agreement dropped due to the significant number of samples, which were positive by RQ-PCR but negative by MFC. MFC-/RQ-PCR+ samples included 19 positive quantifiable and 54 positive BQR results by RQ-PCR. Conversely, MFC+/RQ-PCR <0.01% samples included 4 positive quantifiable samples, 14 BQR and only one negative sample by RQ-PCR. A significantly higher proportion of BQR samples with at least 2 positive triplicates were MFC positive (17/62, 27%; Cohen s kappa , P<0.0001) compared to virtually none of those with only 1 or no triplicate above sensitivity (1%, 2/173) (Cohen s kappa , P<0.0001) (supplementary Figure 4). If all levels of RQ-PCR positivity are considered, amongst 154 RQ-PCR negative samples, only 1 was positive by MFC, at 0.07% (RQ-PCR sensitivity and QR of 0.01%). Of the 62 RQ-PCR positive-quantifiable MRD samples, 43 (69%) were also positive by MFC, whereas 19 (31%) samples from 11 patients were considered negative by MFC. Overall, 14/68 (21%) BQR samples were also positive by MFC (Table 1 and Figure 5). The incidence of MFC positivity in samples with two or three positive triplicate PCR analyses was not significantly lower than quantifiable samples, below 0.01% by RQ-PCR (13/49 vs. 4/13 respectively, P=0.6667), whereas this incidence fell in samples with only 1/3 positive triplicates, when it was not significantly different from samples considered negative by PCR (1/19 vs. 1/154,
15 P=0.2207). Restriction of criteria for MRD low level positivity to samples with at least 2/3 positive triplicates reduced the overall incidence of positivity from 46% to 39% of the 284 samples analyzed (Table 1). The RQ-PCR BQR samples that were positive by MFC were all below 0.1%. Similarly, all but 1 of the RQ-PCR quantifiably positive samples, which were negative by MFC, were below 0.1% (18/19, Table 1 and Figure 5). In 62/284 samples with quantifiable RQ-PCR MRD and positive or negative MFC MRD, values correlated well (Pearson correlation coefficient r=0.95, P<0.0001) (Figure 5). A Bland-Altman analysis showed higher MFC-based MRD values with a mean difference of log and a relatively wide range between the 95% limits of agreement (95% CI:[ ; ]) (supplementary Figure 5). The Euro-MRD group defined two criteria for definition of BQR positivity, with a 3Ct or 1Ct difference from first background positivity. 27 Data reanalysis using these more restrictive criteria for positivity (supplementary Table 3) led to a diminution of BQR samples from 68/284 (24%) to 53/284 (19%). We also compared IgH-VDJ and BCL1-IgH ASO RQ-PCR results for 48 MRD samples from 11 patients. As shown in supplementary Figure 6, 12/13 samples positive above 0.01% by IgH-VDJ or BCL1-IgH gave identical results. All 11 IgH- VDJ BQR results with 2 or 3 positive triplicates were also BCL1-IgH positive, in contrast to only 3/9 IgH BQR with one positive triplicate. These data are in keeping with the MFC-IgH RQ-PCR comparison. Taken together, this comparison shows comparable results for MFC and quantifiable positive RQ-PCR results (Pearson correlation coefficient r=0.95, P<0.0001) but a greater sensitivity for RQ-PCR, when the identification of at least 2/3 positive triplicate results detects veritable low level positivity.
16 Prognostic relevance of MFC MRD values A total of 33 patients with MRD data and a documented clinical remission after induction were evaluable for assessment of the prognostic impact of MFC MRD status at the end of induction. Patients achieving a negative MFC MRD after induction (n = 26) demonstrated a non-significant trend for prolonged remission duration (RD) compared with patients with residual disease (n = 7; P=0.1496; Figure 6A), Comparable results were obtained for RD based on end-of-induction RQ-PCR MRD status with a 0.01% positivity cut-off (28/33 MRD negative patients). In contrast, when using an RQ-PCR positive cut-off, including BQR positivity, the 13 MRD negative patients required re-treatment significantly later than the 20 MRD positive patients (P=0.0014, Figure 6B). There was no difference in RD when patients with MRD results showing a single positive triplicate were considered negative (Fig 6B) in this small cohort (16/33 MRD negative patients). These data confirm that MFC and RQ-PCR are comparable above 0.01% sensitivity levels, but that the greater sensitivity of the latter improves predictive value for remission duration. MRD relapse precedes clinical relapse and allows preemptive treatment Amongst 61 patients with at least one paired MRD analysis, 29 relapsed and 19 died. Analysis of relapse kinetics was restricted to PB MRD values, since regular monitoring makes this a more appropriate source of material. Ten relapsing patients had sufficient MRD points to assess the capacity of RQ-PCR or MFC to predict future clinical relapse. For relapse kinetics, samples with only one positive triplicate were considered negative, but are represented graphically at 10-7, (Figure 7) whereas two or
17 three positive triplicates were considered to be MRD positive (represented graphically at 10-6 ). Clinical relapse was preceded by MRD relapse in all patients by RQ-PCR, compared to 6/8 by MFC (Figure 6 and supplementary Table 4). If only positive results above 0.01% were taken into account, MRD relapse preceded clinical relapse in 7/10 patients. The median latency for prediction by RQ-PCR when any increase to at least 2 positive triplicates was considered as MRD relapse was 22.5 months [range 1-48m] and 5 months [range 2-11m] when only results above 0.01% were considered positive. Latency by MFC was similar to the latter, at 4.5 months [range 2-18m]. No relapse tissue was available for the patients whose relapses were not predicted (supplementary Table 4). Although the number of patients is limited, these data suggest that regular MFC and RQ-PCR monitoring may facilitate pre-emptive treatment, with sufficient latency to allow appropriate therapeutic modification. As proof of principle, two patients treated locally, off protocol, underwent an MRD relapse (one relapsed twice), with no evidence of clinical or hematological relapse, and were treated with rituximab, with rapid molecular and phenotypic response (Figure 7B), followed by 3- monthly maintenance. This led to a 4 year remission in one patient, with the second currently in CR, under maintenance.
18 Discussion Monitoring MRD in MCL clearly has a place in prognostic evaluation, therapeutic stratification 11 and assessment of preemptive treatment 8, pleading for optimal MRD surveillance during remission, with therapeutic modification at MRD conversion or relapse. Gold standard IgH RQ-PCR MRD quantification is sensitive but relatively complex and time consuming, and has a high proportion of low-level positive results below the quantifiable range. As such, it may be less adapted to immediate, individual patient management than MFC. MFC MRD should be faster and cheaper than molecular analysis but FC was, until recently, insufficiently sensitive. 20 We and others have shown that MFC can give comparable results to Ig/TCR MRD for levels above 0.01% in ALL 13, CLL 29 and Hairy Cell Leukemia 19, with complementary informativity. We now demonstrate that this is also the case for MCL. At diagnosis, it was possible to identify at least one MCL LAIP in all patients followed by RQ-PCR. The latter was possible for 86% of patients overall, including 16 with no or insufficient MFC infiltration for identification of a diagnostic LAIP. Conversely, 7 patients had an identifiable MCL population by MFC but no satisfactory clone-specific RQ-PCR probes. Only 9/113 (8%) of patients were not accessible to either approach, demonstrating that MFC and RQ-PCR are complementary. Phenotypic evolution during the course of the disease is a potential risk of MFC, but the 8-colour strategy described here reduced the risk of false negative results by increasing the number of LAIP/patient. MFC MRD quantification is based on the detection of MCL cells within a large number of normal B lymphocytes. We demonstrate a robust sensitivity of at least 0.01%, on analysis of at least cells. This could obviously be increased by increasing the number of cells analyzed, as long as the number of normal B
19 lymphocytes in the MCL-box remains low/absent. Using a cutoff level of 0.01%, RQ-PCR and MFC MRD values correlated significantly, although MFC was negative in 10/49 samples (20%). It should be emphasized that this is a retrospective study of thawed cryopreserved ficolled MRD samples, which may underestimate MFC sensitivity, relative to prospective whole blood samples. MFC MRD was specific, as demonstrated by the virtual absence of RQ-PCR negative/mfc positive cases. MFC, with a sensitivity limit of 0.01%, would be expected to be negative in the vast majority of RQ-PCR BQR samples. This was indeed the case for samples with only one positive triplicate (1/19, 5%) but not in samples with 2 or 3 positive triplicates (13/49, 27%), when the incidence of positivity was similar to quantifiable samples below 0.01% (4/13, 31%). This probably reflects the significant variability in QR values between patients, since 8/15 MFC+/BQR samples had QR above 0.01%, compared to 27% of patients overall. Inter-patient variability and acceptable QR limits should be optimized, ideally with a QR of at least 0.01% in all patients. The use of more stringent criteria for low level MRD positivity will reduce the proportion of BQR samples by 5-10% overall, or 10-25% of positive samples. Whether this will improve the positive and negative predictive value of MRD needs to be evaluated in prospective studies. It is possible that even very low levels of MRD positivity should be used for therapeutic stratification, as demonstrated for remission duration in this study, in which case RQ-PCR is preferable to MFC, unless at least one log more cells can be quantified with the latter. It is probable that combined, integrated use of MFC and RQ-PCR will provide optimal MCL follow-up. The recent demonstration that next-generation sequencing strategies will improve informativity and sensitivity 30 also plead for a combined approach, as will the use of droplet digital PCR. 31
20 In practice, therapeutic modification is rarely based on a single MRD result. The clinical relevance of MFC and RQ-PCR MRD assessment could be analyzed for ten patients undergoing first relapse. The transition from negative to positive, including BQR RQ-PCR (median 22.5 months) virtually always preceded negative to positive transition by MFC (4.5 months), but RQ-PCR positivity above 0.01% was not different (5 months). These delays are compatible with pre-emptive treatment in the majority of relapsing patients. If therapeutic intervention is to be considered, the interval for PB surveillance should probably be 3 monthly. It should, however, be noted that MRD gave less than 3 months warning in 3/10 patients. Failure to detect relapse may reflect clonal evolution or relapse as purely nodal disease, or even the appearance of a novel B lymphoproliferative disorder. Distinguishing between these possibilities will require histological and molecular analysis of relapse tissue. As proof of concept, pre-emptive treatment of 2 patients at MRD conversion, prior to clinical relapse, allowed re-establishment of molecular and phenotypic complete remission and a durable second remission. It remains unknown what the MRD threshold for starting pre-emptive treatment should be and analysis of individual MRD kinetics for a larger number of patients is clearly required. Similarly, MRD kinetics following novel agents such as Idelalisib need to be studied. MFC (or limiting RQ-PCR positivity to samples with at least 2/3 positive triplicates) might also be useful in the interpretation of low-level positive results, potentially avoiding excessively early therapeutic stratification. 8 Molecular remission is an independent prognostic factor of clinical outcome. 11 With its greater sensitivity, RQ-PCR MRD is better suited to prognostic analysis but MFC MRD may be more clinically relevant and practicable in individual therapeutic management. We need to clarify the optimal integration of these complementary
21 techniques, their timing and the definition of MRD relapse, in order to optimize comparison between studies. MFC clearly has a place in MCL management, which needs further evaluation in a prospective setting.
22 Acknowledgements: We thank Franck Morschhauser, Loic Ysebaert, François Boue, Celia Salanoubat, Michel Fabbro, Eric Jourdan, Sylvie Castaigne, Maud Janvier, Pierre Fenaux, Lina Al Jassem, Hugo Gonzalez and Marie Beaumont for contributing diagnostic and MRD samples for EU-MCL patients and Carine Deschodt and Fabienne Morand for help with sample management. Supplementary information is available on the Haematologica s website
23 Refererences 1. Dreyling M, Lenz G, Hoster E, et al. Early consolidation by myeloablative radiochemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation in first remission significantly prolongs progression-free survival in mantle-cell lymphoma: results of a prospective randomized trial of the European MCL Network. Blood. 2005;105(7): Hermine O, Hoster E, Walewski J, et al. Alternating courses of 3xCHOP and 3xDHAP plus rituximab followed by a high dose ARA-C containing myeloablative regimen and autologous stem cell transplantation increases overall survival when compared to 6 courses of CHOP plus rituximab followed by myeloablative radiochemotherapy and ASCT in mantle cell lymphoma: final analysis of the MCL Younger Trial of the European mantle cell lymphoma Network. Hematol Oncol. 2012: abstract 151. Presented at: ASH Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, USA, 8-11 December Geisler CH, Kolstad A, Laurell A, et al. Long-term progression-free survival of mantle cell lymphoma after intensive front-line immunochemotherapy with in vivo-purged stem cell rescue: a nonrandomized phase 2 multicenter study by the Nordic Lymphoma Group. Blood. 2008;112(7): Romaguera JE, Fayad L, Rodriguez MA, et al. High rate of durable remissions after treatment of newly diagnosed aggressive mantle-cell lymphoma with rituximab plus hyper-cvad alternating with rituximab plus high-dose methotrexate and cytarabine. J Clin Oncol. 2005;23(28): Lenz G, Dreyling M, Hoster E, et al. Immunochemotherapy with rituximab and cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone significantly
24 improves response and time to treatment failure, but not long-term outcome in patients with previously untreated mantle cell lymphoma: results of a prospective randomized trial of the German Low Grade Lymphoma Study Group (GLSG). J Clin Oncol. 2005;23(9): Delarue R, Haioun C, Ribrag V, et al. CHOP and DHAP plus rituximab followed by autologous stem cell transplantation in mantle cell lymphoma: a phase 2 study from the Groupe d Etude des Lymphomes de l Adulte. Blood. 2013;121(1): Lefrère F, Delmer A, Levy V, et al. Sequential chemotherapy regimens followed by high-dose therapy with stem cell transplantation in mantle cell lymphoma: an update of a prospective study. Haematologica. 2004;89(10): Andersen NS, Pedersen LB, Laurell A, et al. Pre-emptive treatment with rituximab of molecular relapse after autologous stem cell transplantation in mantle cell lymphoma. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27(26): Kluin-Nelemans HC, Hoster E, Hermine O, et al. Treatment of older patients with mantle-cell lymphoma. N Engl J Med. 2012;367(6): Le Gouill S, Thieblemont C, Oberic L, et al. Rituximab maintenance versus wait and watch after four courses of R-DHAP followed by autologous stem cell transplantation in previously untreated young patients with mantle cell lymphoma: first interim analysis of the phase III prospective LyMa trial, a Lysa study. Hematol Oncol. 2014: abstract 146. Presented at: ASH Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, USA, 6-9 December Pott C, Hoster E, Delfau-Larue M-H, et al. Molecular remission is an independent predictor of clinical outcome in patients with mantle cell lymphoma after
25 combined immunochemotherapy: a European MCL intergroup study. Blood. 2010;115(16): Pott C, Schrader C, Gesk S, et al. Quantitative assessment of molecular remission after high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplantation predicts longterm remission in mantle cell lymphoma. Blood. 2006;107(6): Garand R, Beldjord K, Cavé H, et al. Flow cytometry and IG/TCR quantitative PCR for minimal residual disease quantitation in acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a French multicenter prospective study on behalf of the FRALLE, EORTC and GRAALL. Leukemia. 2013;27(2): Schrappe M. Minimal residual disease: optimal methods, timing, and clinical relevance for an individual patient. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2012;2012: Flanders A, Stetler-Stevenson M, Landgren O. Minimal residual disease testing in multiple myeloma by flow cytometry: major heterogeneity. Blood. 2013;122(6): Paiva B, van Dongen JJM, Orfao A. New criteria for response assessment: role of minimal residual disease in multiple myeloma. Blood. 2015;125(20): Rawstron AC, Gregory WM, de Tute RM, et al. Minimal residual disease in myeloma by flow cytometry: independent prediction of survival benefit per log reduction. Blood. 2015;125(12): Rawstron AC, Böttcher S, Letestu R, et al. Improving efficiency and sensitivity: European Research Initiative in CLL (ERIC) update on the international harmonised approach for flow cytometric residual disease monitoring in CLL. Leukemia. 2013;27(1):
26 19. Garnache Ottou F, Chandesris M-O, Lhermitte L, et al. Peripheral blood 8 colour flow cytometry monitoring of hairy cell leukaemia allows detection of high-risk patients. Br J Haematol. 2014;166(1): Böttcher S, Ritgen M, Buske S, et al. Minimal residual disease detection in mantle cell lymphoma: methods and significance of four-color flow cytometry compared to consensus IGH-polymerase chain reaction at initial staging and for follow-up examinations. Haematologica. 2008;93(4): Van Dongen JJM, Lhermitte L, Böttcher S, et al. EuroFlow antibody panels for standardized n-dimensional flow cytometric immunophenotyping of normal, reactive and malignant leukocytes. Leukemia. 2012;26(9): Van der Vuurst de Vries AR, Clevers H, Logtenberg T, Meyaard L. Leukocyteassociated immunoglobulin-like receptor-1 (LAIR-1) is differentially expressed during human B cell differentiation and inhibits B cell receptor-mediated signaling. Eur J Immunol. 1999;29(10): Sánchez ML, Almeida J, Vidriales B, et al. Incidence of phenotypic aberrations in a series of 467 patients with B chronic lymphoproliferative disorders: basis for the design of specific four-color stainings to be used for minimal residual disease investigation. Leukemia. 2002;16(8): Neale GA, Coustan-Smith E, Pan Q, et al. Tandem application of flow cytometry and polymerase chain reaction for comprehensive detection of minimal residual disease in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Leukemia. 1999;13(8): Borowitz MJ, Pullen DJ, Shuster JJ, et al. Minimal residual disease detection in childhood precursor-b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia: relation to other risk factors. A Children s Oncology Group study. Leukemia. 2003;17(8):
27 26. Campana D, Coustan-Smith E. Detection of minimal residual disease in acute leukemia by flow cytometry. Cytometry. 1999;38(4): Van der Velden VHJ, Cazzaniga G, Schrauder A, et al. Analysis of minimal residual disease by Ig/TCR gene rearrangements: guidelines for interpretation of real-time quantitative PCR data. Leukemia. 2007;21(4): Bland JM, Altman DG. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet. 1986;1(8476): Letestu R, Cartron G, Lepretre S, et al. Minimal residual disease (MRD) by 8- color flow cytometry (Flow-MRD) and IGH clonospecific quantitative PCR (ASO RQPCR) reached similar performances for evaluation of CLL treatment in a phase II clinical trial: cross validation of the methods. Hematol Oncol. 2014: abstract Presented at: ASH Annual Meeting, San Francisco, GA, USA, 6-9 December Ladetto M, Brüggemann M, Monitillo L, et al. Next-generation sequencing and real-time quantitative PCR for minimal residual disease detection in B-cell disorders. Leukemia. 2014;28(6): Drandi D, Kubiczkova-Besse L, Ferrero S, et al. Minimal residual disease detection by Droplet digital PCR in multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, and follicular lymphoma: a comparison with real-time PCR. J Mol Diagn. 2015;17(6):
28 Table Table 1. MFC positivity as a function of the level of RQ-PCR MRD positivity in 284 samples from 61 patients. Pos > QR (n=62) Pos BQR (n=68) Neg TOTAL RQ-PCR samples (n) >=0.1% <0.1% >=0.01% <0.01% BQR 3/3 BQR 2/3 BQR 1/ Neg MFC (n) Pos MFC (n) Pos MFC/RQ-PCR (%) 96% 61% 31% 30% 23% 5% 1% 20%
29 Figures Legends Figure 1. Flow chart for EU-MCL patients. *: Including 51 samples from the experimental cohort. Figure 2. Gating strategy to assess MCL involvement and evaluate LAIP in a diagnostic PB sample (A) and to quantify MFC MRD in a follow-up PB sample (B) from a patient included in the EU-MCL trial. Figure 3. CD11a and LAIR mean fluorescent intensity (MFI) on diagnostic MCL samples in the experimental cohort (n=51 patients). Figure 4. RQ-PCR results from 97 (49 elderly and 48 younger) EU-MCL patients. Figure 5. Visual representation of paired MRD evaluated by MFC and RQ-PCR. Underlined numbers refer to the total number of samples in the corresponding quadrant. The Pearson s correlation coefficient of the 62 MRD in which RQ-PCR provided quantifiable MRD results and MFC provided either positive or negative results was calculated with the Pearson s correlation test. Figure 6. Response duration (RD) according to MRD status in PB and/or BM after the end of induction in 33 MCL Younger and Elderly patients. RD according to MFC (7/33 MRD positive patients) and RQ-PCR (5/33 MRD positive patients) with a 0.01% cut-off (6A) and RQ-PCR with a negative/positive cut-off, solid lines (20/33 MRD positive patients with at least 1 positive triplicate; 6B) or a 1 vs. 2/3 triplicate cut-off, dashed line (17/33 MRD positive patients with at least 2 positive triplicates). Grey lines indicate negative MRD and black lines positive MRD. Figure 7. Kinetics of MRD evolution. RQ-PCR (in grey) and MFC (in black) quantification of peripheral blood samples at indicated dates. Negative RQ-PCR values are shown as 1E-08, single triplicate BQR results at 1E-07 and 2 or 3 positive
30 triplicates at 1E-06. The horizontal dotted lines represent individual QR and MFC sensitivity, as labelled. Negative MFC results are shown just below 10E-4 (0.01%). RQ-PCR and MFC MRD relapses respectively 26 and 5 months before clinical relapse (A). Pre-emptive treatment based on rising RQ-PCR and/or MFC MRD results (B).
38 MRD by flow cytometry in Mantle Cell Lymphoma Supplementary Data Treatment of patients in the EU-MCL trials. The trials investigated the role of different induction protocols followed by either 2 different high-dose regimens with ASCT (MCL Younger) or 2 different maintenance therapies (MCL Elderly). Younger patients received either 6 cycles rituximab with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP) followed by myeloablative radiochemotherapy with autologous blood stem cell support or 6 cycles of alternating R- CHOP/R-DHAP (rituximab with high-dose cytarabine and cisplatin) regimens followed by high-dose cytarabine containing myeloablative radio-chemotherapy and ASCT. Older patients were randomized to induction with either 8 cycles of R-CHOP or 6 cycles of rituximab, fludarabine, cyclophosphamide (R-FC). After a second randomization, all patients in clinical remission (CR) received maintenance treatment with either interferon-α or rituximab at 2- monthly intervals, until clinical relapse. Peripheral blood (PB) and/or bone marrow (BM) samples were collected at diagnosis and simultaneously to clinical assessment at midterm staging (after 3 or 4 cycles of induction therapy), end-of-induction (4 weeks after the last induction cycle and before ASCT or maintenance) and post-induction at 3-monthly intervals after ASCT for MCL Younger and 2-3-monthly intervals for MCL Elderly patients, until clinical relapse in both trials 2,9,11. Statistical analyses For continuous and categorical data the Mann-Whitney test or the χ 2 -test/fisher s exact test was used for group comparisons. Agreement of MRD positivity as defined by both methods was assessed using Cohen s kappa for different scenarii: positive RQ-PCR including all BQR, positive RQ-PCR including BQR with 2-3/3 positive triplicates and positive RQ-PCR >= 0.01%. A Bland Altman analysis was performed to assess the level of agreement between two measurement methods in samples where both were positive. 28 Measurements were logtransformed prior to analysis. The limits of agreement were calculated using a linear mixed effects model taking into account the correlation among the repeated measurements in each subject. Correlations between MRD values generated by RQ-PCR and MFC were measured with the Pearson s correlation coefficient and their representation plotted using GraphPad 1
39 Software (GraphPad Software Inc, San Diego, CA, USA). RD according to MRD status in PB and/or BM at end-of-induction was analyzed by Kaplan-Meier estimates and compared using the log-rank test. A P-value of 0.05 was considered the limit of significance in all analyses. Statistical analyses were performed using SAS 9.4 (SAS Institute, Cary, North Carolina, USA). 2
40 Figure S1. Example of assessment of specificity and sensitivity of the CD11a/LAIR-1 combination on a normal blood sample. 3
41 Table S1. Number of samples analyzed by MFC and RQ-PCR at different time points. Patients, n MRD samples Midterm evaluation End of induction Follow- up or maintenance MFC, n (PB/BM) (210/84) 49 (24/25) 48 (30/18) 197 (156/41) RQ- PCR, n (PB/BM) (639/255) 126 (71/55) 98 (57/41) 670 (511/159) Comparison of MFC and RQ- PCR MRD, n (PB/BM) (207/77) 48 (24/24) 47 (30/17) 189 (153/36) Table S2. LAIR-1 and CD11a sub-populations and their respective Kappa/Lambda light chain ratio in physiological B CD19+CD5+ cells from 10 normal blood samples. Results are expressed in median and standard deviation (SD). * The high SD is due to the very low number of events in the CD19+CD5+LAIR-1-CD11a- sub-population. All events CD19+ CD19+ CD5+ CD19+CD5+ LAIR- 1 pos CD11a neg CD19+CD5+ LAIR- 1 pos CD11a neg CD19+CD5+ LAIR- 1 neg CD11a neg CD19+CD5+ LAIR- 1 neg CD11a pos Total events Median (SD) (0) (12111) 1178 (800) 141 (112) 1551 (670) 7 (2) 81 (60) K/L ratio Median (SD) 1.60 (0.20) 1.61 (0.19) 1.29 (0.31) 1.71 (0.21) 2.00 (2.10*) 2.00 (0.14) 4
42 Figure S2. Minimal residual disease quantification by MFC in 211 PB samples and 83 BM samples from patients included in the EU-MCL trial. The number of negative/total samples in each category is indicated on the x-axis. 10 PB and 10 BM samples from 11 patients without detectable tumor cells at diagnosis were excluded. 5
43 Figure S3. Correlation between infiltration evaluated by MFC and RQ-PCR Ct value from a 1 log dilution for 100 diagnostic PB or BM samples with semi-logarithmic (A) or logarithmic (B) expression. The 90% confidence interval or prediction is given in C. Six samples with low level cycle threshold (Ct) values within the 90% confidence limits are indicated in red in A and B and the 4 samples with Ct values above the confidence limits are shown in orange. 6
44 Figure S4. Agreement plot for MRD positivity as defined by the MFC and RQ-PCR methods. The figure shows the corresponding Cohen s kappa agreement charts for 3 scenarii: positive RQ-PCR including all BQR, positive RQ-PCR including BQR with 2-3/3 positive triplicates and positive RQ-PCR >= 0.01%. Figure S5. Comparison of MRD results obtained by MFC and RQ-PCR by Bland Altman analysis. The differences and the mean were calculated from logarithmically transformed proportional MRD results. Analysis was restricted to positive MRD results. 7
45 Figure S6. Comparison of IgH and BCL1-IgH PCR quantification for 11 patients. The numbers refer to the number of samples represented by each line. 8
46 Table S3. Comparison of a 1Ct and a 3Ct Q-PCR cut-off above background for evaluation of positivity by RQ-PCR. The Euro-MRD group defined two criteria for definition of BQR positivity, with either 3Ct or 1Ct difference from first background positivity. In the former setting the aim is to avoid false positive MRD results, whereas the latter aims to avoid false negative results. The difference is based on the minimal difference between the highest Ct value considered to represent MRD positivity and the lowest Ct value of the polyclonal PBLs used to assess specificity. Under maximum sensitivity conditions, as used here, the Ct value of at least one of the triplicates must be >1 Ct below the lowest Ct of background, whereas under therapy intensification conditions which aim to reduce false positive results, the Ct value of at least one of the triplicates must be >3Ct below the lowest Ct of background. In order to assess the impact of these different cut-offs, we compared the 68 BQR samples using 3Ct and 1Ct cut-offs. As shown in Table S1, the former led to 15 BQR samples being reclassified as negative, including 1 which were previously positive by MFC (at 0.01%). The number of BQR samples diminished from 68 to 53, with no significant change in the incidence of MFC positivity in the different RQ-PCR categories. A more restrictive definition of low level PCR positivity therefore led to a diminution of BQR samples from 68/284 (24%) to 53/284 (19%). Pos > QR Pos BQR Neg TOTAL RQ- PCR samples (n) >=0.1% <0.1% >=0.01% <0.01% BQR 3/3 BQR 2/3 BQR 1/3 3Ct cut- off % Pos MFC/RQ- PCR 96% 61% 31% 37% 28% 6% 1% 20% 1Ct cut- off % Pos MFC/RQ- PCR 96% 61% 31% 30% 23% 5% 1% 20% 9
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