Blood 2007 Jun 13;109(11):4635-40. Epub 2007 Feb 13.
Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Guy's Hospital, King's College London, UK.
The FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene is a recurrent molecular lesion in eosinophilia-associated myeloproliferative disorders, predicting a favorable response to imatinib mesylate. To investigate its prevalence, 376 patients with persistent unexplained hypereosinophilia were screened by the United Kingdom reference laboratory, revealing 40 positive cases (11%). To determine response kinetics following imatinib, real-time quantitative-polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) assays were developed and evaluated in samples accrued from across the European LeukemiaNet. The FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion transcript was detected at a sensitivity of 1 in 10(5) in serial dilution of the EOL-1 cell line. Normalized FIP1L1-PDGFRA transcript levels in patient samples prior to imatinib varied by almost 3 logs. Serial monitoring was undertaken in patients with a high level of FIP1L1-PDGFRA expression prior to initiation of imatinib (100 mg/d-400 mg/d). Overall, 11 of 11 evaluable patients achieved at least a 3-log reduction in FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion transcripts relative to the pretreatment level within 12 months, with achievement of molecular remission in 9 of 11 (assay sensitivities 1 in 10(3)-10(5)). In 2 patients, withdrawal of imatinib was followed by a rapid rise in FIP1L1-PDGFRA transcript levels. Overall, these data are consistent with the exquisite sensitivity of the FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha fusion to imatinib, as compared with BCR-ABL, and underline the importance of RQ-PCR monitoring to guide management using molecularly targeted therapies.