The detection of immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangement (IgH-R) is a standard tool for distinguishing polyclonal from monoclonal B-cell populations. Current DNA-based polymerase chain reactions (PCR) strategies can diagnose monoclonal IgH-R either by measuring the length of the amplicon or by detecting gel mobility variations owing to sequence-dependent conformational changes. However, amplification and analysis remain sequential operations usually requiring manual transfer. We have developed a novel PCR strategy for detecting monoclonal IgH-R that monitors fluorescence of the specific double-stranded DNA binding dye SYBR Green I during melting curve analysis using the LightCycler System. We compared polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) versus melting curve analysis in 130 clinical DNA samples from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues (mostly skin biopsies) of 128 patients. The identical FR3 primers were used to amplify the IgH variable region for both analytic techniques. We detected IgH-R in 24 DNA samples from FFPE tissue of 22 patients. Melting curve analysis, compared to PAGE, revealed no false negative and no false positive results, yielding both sensitivity and specificity equal to 100%. We also compared Southern blot analysis versus melting curve analysis in 23 clinical DNA samples from fresh-frozen lymph nodes of 23 patients. We detected IgH-R by melting curve analysis in 7 DNA samples from fresh-frozen lymph nodes. Melting curve analysis, compared to Southern blot analysis, revealed sensitivity equal to 58.3% (7 of 12) and specificity equal to 100% (11 of 11). We conclude that continuous fluorescence monitoring of PCR products with DNA melting curve analysis can rapidly and reproducibly distinguish polyclonal from monoclonal B-cell populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Medicine