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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 20;106(42):17882-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904658106. Epub 2009 Oct 12.

Immunologically silent cancer clone transmission from mother to offspring.

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Department of Pediatrics and Developmental Biology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 1138519, Japan.


Rare cases of possible materno-fetal transmission of cancer have been recorded over the past 100 years but evidence for a shared cancer clone has been very limited. We provide genetic evidence for mother to offspring transmission, in utero, of a leukemic cell clone. Maternal and infant cancer clones shared the same unique BCR-ABL1 genomic fusion sequence, indicating a shared, single-cell origin. Microsatellite markers in the infant cancer were all of maternal origin. Additionally, the infant, maternally-derived cancer cells had a major deletion on one copy of chromosome 6p that included deletion of HLA alleles that were not inherited by the infant (i.e., foreign to the infant), suggesting a possible mechanism for immune evasion.

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