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Hum Genet. 1990 Oct;85(5):477-85.

Leukaemia and transient leukaemia in Down syndrome.

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  • 1CRC Research Group in Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Community Medicine, Southampton General Hospital, UK.


We have reviewed 215 published cases of leukaemia and transient leukaemia in Down syndrome. There is an over-representation of mosaic trisomy 21, possibly the result, at least in part, of a survival effect. The most intriguing observation is a bimodal distribution of maternal age, produced largely because cases with true leukaemia have a significantly higher maternal age than cases with transient leukaemia (33.5 versus 29.5 years). In conjunction with evidence that meiosis I nondisjunction is infrequent in transient leukaemia, this suggests different mechanisms for the etiology of leukaemia and transient leukaemia, and favours a locus predisposing to transient leukaemia proximal to the centromere on the long arm of chromosome 21.

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