Calcein assay for multidrug resistance reliably predicts therapy response and survival rate in acute myeloid leukaemia

Éva Karászi, Katalin Jakab, László Homolya, Gergely Szakács, Zsolt Holló, Béla Telek, Attila Kiss, László Rejtô, Sarolta Nahajevszky, Balázs Sarkadi, János Kappelmayer

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72 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we evaluated the suitability of the calcein assay as a routine clinical laboratory method for the identification of multidrug-resistant phenotype in acute leukaemia. This study presents the results of the calcein tests obtained in two large haematological centres in Hungary. Assays were performed with blast cells of 93 de novo acute leukaemia patients, including 65 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Results were expressed as multidrug resistance activity factor (MAF) values. AML patients were divided into responders and non-responders and MAF values were calculated for each group. In both centres, responder patients displayed significantly lower MAF values than non-responders (P = 0.0045 and P = 0.0454). Cut-off values were established between the MAFR + SEM and MAFNR - SEM values. On the basis of these cut-off levels, multidrug resistance (MDR) negativity showed a 72% predictive value for the response to chemotherapy, whereas MDR positivity was found to have an average predictive value of 69% for therapy failure. MDR activity was a prognostic factor for survival rate and the test was suitable for detecting patients at relapse. The calcein assay can be used as a quantitative, standardized, inexpensive screening test in a routine clinical laboratory setting. The assay detects both P-glycoprotein and multidrug resistance-associated protein activities, and identifies AML patients with unfavourable therapy responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 12 2001


  • Acute myeloid leukaemia
  • Calcein-AM
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Verapamil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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