Quantitative monitoring by polymerase colony assay of known mutations resistant to ABL kinase inhibitors

V. Nardi, T. Raz, X. Cao, C. J. Wu, R. M. Stone, J. Cortes, M. W.N. Deininger, G. Church, J. Zhu, G. Q. Daley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Resistance to molecularly targeted chemotherapy, and the development of novel agents that are active against resistant forms of target proteins create the need for a sensitive and quantitative assay to monitor drug-resistant mutations in patients to guide treatment and assess response. Here, we describe an application of the polymerase colony (polony) method to identify and quantify known point mutations in the BCR-ABL oncogene in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia who evolve resistance to ABL kinase inhibitors. The assay can detect mutations with a sensitivity of 10-4, quantify the burden of drug-resistant cells, and simultaneously monitor the dynamics of several coexisting mutations. As a proof of concept, we analysed blood samples from three patients undergoing therapy with ABL kinase inhibitors and found that the patients' response to therapy correlated with our molecular monitoring. We were also able to detect mutations emerging in patients long before clinical relapse. Therefore, the polony assay could be applied to a larger patient sample to assess the utility of early mutation detection in patient-specific treatment decisions. Finally, this methodology could be a valuable research tool to shed light on the natural behavior of mutations pre-existing kinase inhibitors therapy and either disappearing over time or slowly taking over.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-782
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 31 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug resistance
  • Mutations detection
  • Solid-phase PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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