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Leukemia. 1995 Jul;9(7):1147-53.

High degree of myeloid differentiation and granulocytosis is associated with t(8;21) smoldering leukemia.

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  • 1Second Department of Internal Medicine, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


The t(8;21) is a frequent chromosome abnormality in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), particularly associated with M2 of the French-American-British (FAB) classification, but also found in a few patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The two genes involved in the t(8;21) have been recently isolated and the cDNA of the AML1/ETO fusion gene identified. We have investigated a series of AML and MDS patients by a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and analyzed the clinical and laboratory features of leukemia with t(8;21). The t(8;21) was only found in a subset of M2, which had the clinical and hematological features distinct from those M2 without t(8;21). M2 with t(8;21) was associated with a significantly higher myeloid differentiation and with a good response to chemotherapy. Moreover, among the patients with refractory anemia with excess of blasts in transformation (RAEB-T) the t(8;21) was also significantly associated with a higher myeloid differentiation and a good response to chemotherapy. M2 patients with t(8;21) could be distinguished on a number of hematological parameters, eg white blood cell count and percentage of bone marrow myeloblasts and promyelocytes, from RAEB-T carrying the t(8;21). Based on these findings we suggest that leukemia patients carrying t(8;21) can be grouped into two types; overt acute myeloid leukemia (M2) and smoldering or slowly evolving myeloid leukemia.

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