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Br J Haematol. 2008 Oct;143(2):153-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07314.x. Epub 2008 Aug 7.

Molecular-genetic insights in paediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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Department of Paediatric Oncology/Haematology, Erasmus MC/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Paediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive malignancy of thymocytes that accounts for about 15% of ALL cases and for which treatment outcome remains inferior compared to B-lineage acute leukaemias. In T-ALL, leukemic transformation of maturating thymocytes is caused by a multistep pathogenesis involving numerous genetic abnormalities that drive normal T-cells into uncontrolled cell growth and clonal expansion. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge on onco- and tumor suppressor genes in T-ALL and suggests a classification of these genetic defects into type A and type B abnormalities. Type A abnormalities may delineate distinct molecular-cytogenetic T-ALL subgroups, whereas type B abnormalities are found in all major T-ALL subgroups and synergize with these type A mutations during T-cell pathogenesis.

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