Densitometric analysis of Southern blot autoradiographs and its application to monitoring patients with chronic myeloid leukemia
Janus Kinase 2
The characteristic genetic exchange in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is the fusion of the ABL proto-oncogene and a specific part of the BCR or phl gene. Detection of this exchange by cytogenetic or Southern blot analysis is highly diagnostic for CML. The latter approach has not previously been used to quantify the relative proportions of leukemic and non-leukemic cells. We have assessed the feasibility of estimating the relative proportion of leukemic cells present in a sample by densitometric analysis of autoradiographs of Southern blots. In dilution experiments of CML cells with normal cells, a linear relationship could be demonstrated between the relative intensity of the autoradiograph band corresponding bcr rearrangement and the proportion of leukemic cells present. This relationship was found to be largely independent of autoradiograph exposure time. Six patients receiving various therapies have been evaluated for as long as 4.5 years by repeated densitometric and cytogenetic analysis. In general, a declining proportion of Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome positive cells was paralleled by decreasing intensity of the autoradiograph band representing bcr rearrangement. Densitometric changes were often seen prior to the detection of Ph negative cells. This analysis appears to provide a sensitive method for monitoring patients with CML.