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Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 1987 Sep;28(1):155-62.

Nonrandom chromosomal aberrations and clonal chromosomal evolution in acute leukemia associated with Down's syndrome.


Nine Down's syndrome (DS) children, four with acute leukemia, one with acute leukemia as well as rhabdomyosarcoma, and four with other hematologic disorders, were analyzed for constitutional and acquired chromosomal aberrations. Acquired clonal chromosomal aberrations were identified only in the acute leukemia cases, and four of the five acute leukemia demonstrated numerical and/or structural aberrations involving chromosomes #8, #19, and #21. Of the 11 aneuploid stem cell lines identified in the five acute leukemia cases, trisomy 21, trisomy 8, trisomy 19, and tetrasomy or pentasomy 21 was found in 11, seven, four, and two lines, respectively. The frequent appearance of multiple stem cell lines with common and/or overlapping chromosomal aberrations in acute leukemia cases demonstrates the existence of genomic instability and heterogeneity of the neoplastic cell population, which results from clonal chromosomal evolution. Furthermore, trisomy 19 was identified only with the concurrent presence of trisomy 8, suggesting that the nondisjunction of chromosome #19 probably occurred after that of #8. Trisomy 21 was observed in every aneuploid stem cell line and, in one case, trisomy 21 was maintained in the bone marrow leukemic cells but not in the orbital rhabdomyosarcoma cells, indicating that this constitutional chromosomal aberration is probably crucial for and predisposed to the development of acute leukemia in DS patients. The association of acquired clonal chromosomal aberrations, especially those involving chromosomes #8, #19, and #21, with DS acute leukemia strongly suggests the clinical implication of cytogenetic analysis in the diagnosis of acute leukemia development in DS patients.

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