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Hum Pathol. 2000 Jun;31(6):771-4.

Chromosomal translocations are common in natural killer-cell lymphoma/leukemia as shown by spectral karyotyping.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Oncology at the Sir Y.K. Pao Centre for Cancer, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin.


Natural killer (NK)-cell lymphoma/leukemia is a group of rare but highly aggressive neoplasms. The associated genetic aberrations, as defined by conventional cytogenetics, include 6q deletion and chromosome X copy gain, while translocations have been suggested to be uncommon. In this study, three cases of NK cell lymphoma/ leukemia were investigated by spectral karyotyping (SKY). SKY permitted reinterpretation of the chromosomal alterations defined by G-banding and identified several cryptic translocations. In agreement with G-band, 6q deletion was detected in all 3 cases. Structural rearrangement involving chromosome X was observed in 2 cases, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis indicated that both translocations involved Xp21-pter. Chromosome 8 translocation was also identified in 2 cases and shared a common breakpoint, 8p23. The present study shows the value of SKY in providing additional information on karyotypic abnormalities. The novel findings of recurring Xp21-pter rearrangements and 8p23 translocation should provide basis for further investigations into the tumorigenesis of NK cell lymphoma/leukemia.

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