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Leukemia. 2004 Apr;18(4):734-42.

Clinical and molecular features of FIP1L1-PDFGRA (+) chronic eosinophilic leukemias.

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The Center for Human Genetics, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Detection of the FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene or the corresponding cryptic 4q12 deletion supports the diagnosis of chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL) in patients with chronic hypereosinophilia. We retrospectively characterized 17 patients fulfilling WHO criteria for idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (IHES) or CEL, using nested RT-PCR and interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Eight had FIP1L1-PDGFRA (+) CEL, three had FIP1L1-PDGFRA (-) CEL and six had IHES. FIP1L1-PDGFRA (+) CEL responded poorly to steroids, hydroxyurea or interferon-alpha, and had a high probability of eosinophilic endomyocarditis (n=4) and disease-related death (n=4). In FIP1L1-PDGFRA (+) CEL, palpable splenomegaly was present in 5/8 cases, serum vitamin B(12) was always markedly increased, and marrow biopsies revealed a distinctively myeloproliferative aspect. Imatinib induced rapid complete hematological responses in 4/4 treated FIP1L1-PDGFRA (+) cases, including one female, and complete molecular remission in 2/3 evaluable cases. In the female patient, 1 log reduction of FIP1L1-PDGFRA copy number was reached as by real-time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR). Thus, correlating IHES/CEL genotype with phenotype, FIP1L1-PDGFRA (+) CEL emerges as a homogeneous clinicobiological entity, where imatinib can induce molecular remission. While RT-PCR and interphase FISH are equally valid diagnostic tools, the role of marrow biopsy in diagnosis and of RQ-PCR in disease and therapy monitoring needs further evaluation.

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