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Blood. 1989 Jun;73(8):2081-5.

The t(5;14) chromosomal translocation in a case of acute lymphocytic leukemia joins the interleukin-3 gene to the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94121.


Chromosomal translocations have proven to be important markers of the genetic abnormalities central to the pathogenesis of cancer. By cloning chromosomal breakpoints one can identify activated proto-oncogenes. We have studied a case of B-lineage acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) that was associated with peripheral blood eosinophilia. The chromosomal translocation t(5;14) (q31;q32) from this sample was cloned and studied at the molecular level. This translocation joined the immunoglobulin heavy chain joining (Jh) region to the promotor region of the interleukin-3 (IL-3) gene in opposite transcriptional orientations. The data suggest that activation of the IL-3 gene by the enhancer of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene may play a central role in the pathogenesis of this leukemia and the associated eosinophilia.

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