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Large deletions at the t(9;22) breakpoint are common and may define a poor-prognosis subgroup of patients with chronicmyeloid leukemia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Sinclair


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The hallmark of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is the BCR-ABL fusion gene, which is usually formed as a result of the t(9;22) translocation. Patients with CML show considerable heterogeneity both in their presenting clinical features and in the time taken for evolution to blast crisis. In this study, metaphase fluorescence in situ hybridization showed that a substantial minority of patients with CML had large deletions adjacent to the translocation breakpoint on the derivative 9 chromosome, on the additional partner chromosome in variant translocations, or on both. The deletions spanned up to several megabases, had variable breakpoints, and could be detected by microsatellite polymerase chain reaction in unfractionated bone marrow and purified peripheral blood granulocytes. The deletions were likely to occur early and possibly at the time of the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome translocation: deletions were detected at diagnosis in 11 patients, were found in all Ph-positive metaphases, and were more prevalent in patients with variant Ph chromosomes. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a median survival time of 36 months in patients with a deletion; patients without a detectable deletion survived > 90 months. The survival-time difference was significant on log-rank analysis (P = .006). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the prognostic importance of deletion status was independent of age, sex, percentage of peripheral blood blasts, and platelet count. Our data therefore suggest that an apparently simple, balanced translocation may result not only in the generation of a dominantly acting fusion oncogene but also in the loss of one or more genes that influence disease progression.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sinclair PB, Nacheva EP, Leversha M, Telford N, Chang J, Reid A, Bench A, Champion K, Huntley B, Green AR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Blood

Year: 2000

Volume: 95

Issue: 3

Pages: 738-744

ISSN (print): 0006-4971

ISSN (electronic): 1528-0020

Publisher: American Society of Hematology