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Leukemia. 2008 Jan;22(1):124-31. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Prognostic significance of molecular-cytogenetic abnormalities in pediatric T-ALL is not explained by immunophenotypic differences.

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Department of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology, Erasmus University Medical Center-Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is characterized by chromosomal rearrangements possibly enforcing arrest at specific development stages. We studied the relationship between molecular-cytogenetic abnormalities and T-cell development stage to investigate whether arrest at specific stages can explain the prognostic significance of specific abnormalities. We extensively studied 72 pediatric T-ALL cases for genetic abnormalities and expression of transcription factors, NOTCH1 mutations and expression of specific CD markers. HOX11 cases were CD1 positive consistent with a cortical stage, but as 4/5 cases lacked cytoplasmatic-beta expression, developmental arrest may precede beta-selection. HOX11L2 was especially confined to immature and pre-AB developmental stages, but 3/17 HOX11L2 mature cases were restricted to the gammadelta-lineage. TAL1 rearrangements were restricted to the alphabeta-lineage with most cases being TCR-alphabeta positive. NOTCH1 mutations were present in all molecular-cytogenetic subgroups without restriction to a specific developmental stage. CALM-AF10 was associated with early relapse. TAL1 or HOX11L2 rearrangements were associated with trends to good and poor outcomes, respectively. Also cases with high vs low TAL1 expression levels demonstrated a trend toward good outcome. Most cases with lower TAL1 levels were HOX11L2 or CALM-AF10 positive. NOTCH1 mutations did not predict for outcome. Classification into T-cell developmental subgroups was not predictive for outcome.

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