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Br J Haematol. 2004 Aug;126(3):307-12.

Complex chromosomal abnormalities in utero, 5 years before leukaemia.

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Leukaemia Research Fund Cytogenetics Group, Cancer Sciences Division, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.


Prenatal acquisition of leukaemia-associated gene rearrangements is a well-established phenomenon. This is the first report of a complex cytogenetic clone, in association with an ETV6/AML1 fusion, developing in utero. Identical twin girls, aged 4 years, developed ETV6/AML1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) within 3 months of one another. Both demonstrated an identical four way, variant t(12;21). There was gain of an AML1 signal in twin 1 and loss of an ETV6 one in twin 2 at interphase. This unique case study demonstrates that ETV6/AML1 fusion and the associated complex chromosomal rearrangements occurred in utero. Clonal expansion of the abnormal cell in one twin was followed by metastasis to the other. There was a prolonged preleukaemic phase, which lasted well into childhood. The short time between the two diagnoses of ALL suggests a common precipitating event. The significance of the different secondary markers remains unclear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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