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Molecular tracking of leukemogenesis in a triplet pregnancy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christine Harrison FRCPath FMedSci


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The occurrence of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2 of 3 triplets provided a unique opportunity for the investigation of leukemogenesis and the natural history of ALL. The 2 leukemic triplets were monozygotic twins and shared an identical, acquired TEL-AML1 genomic fusion sequence indicative of a single-cell origin in utero in one fetus followed by dissemination of clonal progeny to the comonozygotic twin by intraplacental transfer. In accord with this interpretation, clonotypic TEL-AML1 fusion sequences could be amplified from the archived neonatal blood spots of the leukemic twins. The blood spot of the third, healthy, dizygotic triplet was also fusion gene positive in a single segment, though at age 3 years, his blood was found negative by sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening for the genomic sequence and by reverse transcription-PCR. Leukemic cells in both twins had, in addition to TEL-AML1 fusion, a deletion of the normal, nonrearranged TEL allele. However, this genetic change was found by fluorescence in situ hybridization to be subclonal in both twins. Furthermore, mapping of the genomic boundaries of TEL deletions using microsatellite markers indicated that they were individually distinct in the twins and therefore must have arisen as independent and secondary events, probably after birth. These data support a multihit temporal model for the pathogenesis of the common form of childhood leukemia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Maia AT, Ford AM, Jalali GR, Harrison CJ, Taylor GM, Eden OB, Greaves MF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Blood

Year: 2001

Volume: 98

Issue: 2

Pages: 478-82

ISSN (print): 0006-4971

ISSN (electronic): 1528-0020

Publisher: American Society of Hematology


DOI: 10.1182/blood.V98.2.478

Notes: Case Reports Journal Article Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't United States


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