Immunologic Approaches to the Classification and Management of Lymphomas and Leukemias

Volume 38 of the series Cancer Treatment and Research pp 173-207

Detection of residual disease in acute leukemia using immunological markers

  • Daniel H. Ryan
  • , Jacques J. M. van Dongen

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Central to our current strategies of cancer chemotherapy is the concept that all or nearly all malignant cells must be destroyed by therapy in order for treatment to be successful. Even in neoplasms that respond to chemotherapy, residual tumor cells too few in number to be detectable are capable of proliferating and causing relapse. The consequence of this is that cancer chemotherapy must be continued in patients who have attained a clinical remission for a period of time adequate to eliminate all residual clonogenic tumor cells in as many patients as possible. The optimum duration and intensity of maintenance chemotherapy is determined by clinical trials of patients stratified according to prognostic parameters.