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Leuk Res. 1992 Aug;16(8):789-96.

Morphologic, immunologic and cytogenetic studies in acute myeloid leukemia following occupational exposure to pesticides and organic solvents.

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  • 1Institute of Hematology, University of Ferrara, Italy.


In order to analyze the correlation between environmental exposure and the clinicopathological picture in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), cytogenetic, cyto-immunologic and clinical studies were performed in 70 newly diagnosed AML patients, 30 of which were anamnestically exposed to pesticides (21 cases) or to organic solvents (9 cases). Clonal chromosome aberrations, with involvement of chromosome 5 and/or 7 were more frequently encountered among exposed patients. While the classical t(15;17), t(8;21) and t(9;11) were detected more frequently among non-exposed patients, other recurring chromosome changes in the exposed group were: rearrangements leading to total or partial monosomy 17p (5 cases), structural aberrations involving the band 16q22 (4 cases), trisomy 11q (2 cases), breaks involving bands 6p23, 7p14, 11q13 (2 cases each). Cytologically, trilineage myelodysplasia was observed in 21 exposed patients, whereas morphologic aberrations of the non-blast cell population were confined to a minority of cells in most patients non-exposed. Immunologic studies revealed positivity for the CD34 stem cell marker in 80% exposed patients vs 22% in the non-exposed group. Conventional chemotherapy achieved complete remission in 3/21 patients exposed and in 16/32 patients non-exposed. Median survival was 2 months in the former group and 9 months in the latter group. These findings show that AML following occupational exposure to pesticides and organic solvents may represent a distinct cytogenetic and clinicopathological entity.

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