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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2010 Aug;49(8):726-32. doi: 10.1002/gcc.20783.

Analysis of t(15;17) chromosomal breakpoint sequences in therapy-related versus de novo acute promyelocytic leukemia: association of DNA breaks with specific DNA motifs at PML and RARA loci.

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  • 1Department of Biopathology, University of 'Rome Tor Vergata', Rome, Italy.


We compared genomic breakpoints at the PML and RARA loci in 23 patients with therapy-related acute promyelocytic leukemia (t-APL) and 25 de novo APL cases.Eighteen of 23 t-APL cases received the topoisomerase II poison mitoxantrone for their primary disorder. DNA breaks were clustered in a previously reported 8 bp "hot spot" region of PML corresponding to a preferred site of mitoxantrone-induced DNA topoisomerase II-mediated cleavage in 39% of t-APL occurring in patients exposed to this agent and in none of the cases arising de novo (P = 0.007). As to RARA breakpoints, clustering in a 3' region of intron 2 (region B) was found in 65% of t-APL and 28% of de novo APL patients, respectively. Scan statistics revealed significant clustering of RARA breakpoints in region B in t-APL cases (P = 0.001) as compared to de novo APL (P = 1). Furthermore, approximately 300 bp downstream of RARA region B contained a sequence highly homologous to a topoisomerase II consensus sequence. Biased distribution of DNA breakpoints at both PML and RARA loci suggest the existence of different pathogenetic mechanisms in t-APL as compared with de novo APL.

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