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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2004 Oct;41(2):178-82.

Level of MYC overexpression in pediatric Burkitt's lymphoma is strongly dependent on genomic breakpoint location within the MYC locus.

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Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Children's University Hospital, Giessen, Germany.


Increased transcriptional activity of the MYC gene is a characteristic feature of Burkitt's lymphoma. Aberrant MYC expression is caused by (1) chromosomal translocation to one of the loci carrying an immunoglobulin gene, (2) mutation within the translocated allele, (3) loss of the block to transcription elongation, or (4) promoter shift. To investigate the influence of breakpoint locations within the MYC gene on MYC transcript levels, we determined both the precise genomic MYC/IGH breakpoints and the amount of MYC mRNA in 25 samples of pediatric Burkitt's lymphoma with translocation t(8;14)(q24;q32). Patients with breakpoints that were 5' from MYC exon 1 had significantly lower expression of MYC than did patients who had a breakpoint within exon 1 or intron 1 (P < 0.05 and 0.005, respectively). The highest mRNA level of MYC (1,006 copies per 100 copies ABL1) was detected in patients with loss of the first exon and transcription initiation from a cryptic P3 promoter within the first intron of the MYC gene. In contrast, there was no obvious correlation between breakpoint locations within the IgH locus and the amount of MYC mRNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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