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Blood. 2007 Oct 15;110(8):3036-8. Epub 2007 Jun 8.

Screening for leukemia- and clone-specific markers at birth in children with T-cell precursor ALL suggests a predominantly postnatal origin.

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  • 1Children's Cancer Research Institute, St Anna Kinderkrebsforschung, Vienna, Austria.


Childhood T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (TCP ALL) is an aggressive disease with a presumably short latency that differs in many biologic respects from B-cell precursor (BCP) ALL. We therefore addressed the issue of in utero origin of this particular type of leukemia by tracing oncogenic mutations and clone-specific molecular markers back to birth. These markers included various first- and second-hit genetic alterations (TCRD-LMO2 breakpoint regions, n = 2; TAL1 deletions, n = 3; Notch1 mutations, n = 1) and nononcogenic T-cell receptor rearrangements (n = 13) that were derived from leukemias of 16 children who were 1.5 to 11.2 years old at diagnosis of leukemia. Despite highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approaches (1 cell with a specific marker among 100,000 normal cells), we identified the leukemic clone in the neonatal blood spots in only 1 young child. These data suggest that in contrast to BCP ALL most TCP ALL cases are initiated after birth.

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