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Acta Haematol. 2007;118(3):183-7. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Identification of atypical PML-RARA breakpoint in a patient with acute promyelocytic leukemia.

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.


Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) of the M3 subtype is characterized by translocation t(15;17) that generates the PML-RARA fusion gene. Depending on the breakpoint position in the PML gene, 3 main fusion transcripts usually result. These breakpoints are bcr1 and bcr3 in introns 6 and 3, respectively, and bcr2 in exon 6. This report describes a rare atypical bcr2 breakpoint in a patient with morphological, cytogenetic and molecular features of APL. The presence of t(15;17) was first revealed by fluorescent in situ hybridization. Molecular analysis by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction using primers for different PML-RARA junctions showed bands with different sizes compared with those generated from the three classical breakpoints, namely bcr1, bcr2 and bcr3. However, sequence analysis confirmed the presence of a bcr2 transcript with an atypical breakpoint within exon 6. The patient responded well to treatment and is now in complete remission. However, suggesting a favorable prognosis associated with such a rare transcript is difficult as more similar cases are needed to confirm such a conclusion. This article also stresses the importance of sequencing unusual polymerase chain reaction products to confirm their nature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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