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Haematologica. 2010 Oct;95(10):1683-90. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2009.020792. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

The PAX5 gene is frequently rearranged in BCR-ABL1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia but is not associated with outcome. A report on behalf of the GIMEMA Acute Leukemia Working Party.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Unit, Department of Hematology/Oncology Seràgnoli, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti 9, Bologna, Italy.



Recently, in genome-wide analyses of DNA copy number abnormalities using single nucleotide polymorphism microarrays, genetic alterations targeting PAX5 were identified in over 30% of pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. So far the occurrence of PAX5 alterations and their clinical correlation have not been investigated in adults with BCR-ABL1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.


The aim of this study was to characterize the rearrangements on 9p involving PAX5 and their clinical significance in adults with BCR-ABL1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Eighty-nine adults with de novo BCR-ABL1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia were enrolled into institutional (n=15) or GIMEMA (Gruppo Italiano Malattie EMatologiche dell'Adulto) (n=74) clinical trials and, after obtaining informed consent, their genome was analyzed by single nucleotide polymorphism arrays (Affymetrix 250K NspI and SNP 6.0), genomic polymerase chain reaction analysis and re-sequencing.


PAX5 genomic deletions were identified in 29 patients (33%) with the extent of deletions ranging from a complete loss of chromosome 9 to the loss of a subset of exons. In contrast to BCR-ABL1-negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia, no point mutations were found, suggesting that deletions are the main mechanism of inactivation of PAX5 in BCR-ABL1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The deletions were predicted to result in PAX5 haploinsufficiency or expression of PAX5 isoforms with impaired DNA-binding. Deletions of PAX5 were not significantly correlated with overall survival, disease-free survival or cumulative incidence of relapse, suggesting that PAX5 deletions are not associated with outcome.


PAX5 deletions are frequent in adult BCR-ABL1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia and are not associated with a poor outcome.

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