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Loss of heterozygosity and somatic mutations of the Glucocorticoid receptor gene are rarely found at relapse in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia but may occur in a subpopulation early in the disease course

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Julie Irving, Lynne Minto, Professor Simon BaileyORCiD, Dr Andrew Hall


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Glucocorticoids are pivotal in the treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and have significant antileukemic effects in the majority of children. However, clinical resistance is a significant problem. Although cell line models implicate somatic mutations and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene as a mechanism of in vitro glucocorticoid resistance, the relevance of this mechanism as a cause of clinical resistance in children with ALL is not known. Mutational screening of all coding exons of the GR gene and LOH analyses were done in a large cohort of relapsed ALL. We show that somatic mutations and LOH of the GR rarely contribute to relapsed disease in children with ALL. However, we report the second case of ALL with a somatic mutation of the GR involving a 29-bp deletion in exon 8 and resulting in a truncated protein with loss of part of the ligand-binding domain. There was no evidence of a remaining wild-type allele. Allele-specific PCR detected the mutated clone at day 28 after presentation, which persisted at a low level throughout the disease course before relapse several years later. We hypothesize that the mutated allele present in a leukemic subclone at initial diagnosis was selected for during remission induction with glucocorticoids and contributed to the emergence of a glucocorticoid-resistant cell population.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Irving, J.A.E., Minto, C.L.J., Bailey, S., Hall, A.G.

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Unknown

Journal: Cancer Research

Year: 2005

Volume: 65

Issue: 21

Pages: 9712-9718

ISSN (print): 0008-5472

ISSN (electronic): 1538-7445


DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-1227


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