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Semin Hematol. 1988 Jan;25(1):20-34.

Cytogenetics of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

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Department of Human Genetics, School of Pathology, South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg.


The fundamental pathogenetic significance of the Ph chromosome abnormality in CML has been clarified by molecular studies. However, this balanced reciprocal t(9;22) is probably not the primary event in the pathogenesis of this disease, at least at a cytogenetic level. The cause of Ph variants in +/- 5% of patients is still unknown. Improvements in cytogenetic techniques and molecular studies in a limited number of cases indicate that simple variants do not exist: Region 9q34 appears to be involved in all types of Ph variants. There is tentative evidence that these variants may in fact represent a clonal evolution from a standard t(9;22). The types of additional secondary abnormalities found in Ph variants are the same as those commonly found in standard cases. Ph negative CML represents a heterogeneous group of myeloproliferative/myelodysplastic disorders. The various mechanisms that could lead to Ph negativity are discussed. Some karyotypically normal cases and those showing a chromosome abnormality other than the Ph during the chronic phase have shown the same molecular changes as found in Ph positive CML. The types of clonal changes accompanying transformation to an acute phase are similar to those seen in myeloid disorders as a whole. The prognostic karyotypic factors in predicting imminent metamorphosis to the acute stage and during the acute phase are discussed. The extent of clonal evolution, the type of secondary abnormalities, and their relationship to the hematopoietic lineage of blast cells should be assessed. The nonrandom clonal changes found in 80% of cases are +Ph, +8, i(17q), +19, and loss of the Y. The significance of +Ph is possibly related to amplification of the bcr/abl fusion gene product, but the reason for the other persistent nonrandom changes is still speculative. Recent cytogenetic data indicate that the specific changes observed in various types of ANLL may be seen in corresponding types of MT, such as t(15;17) in promyelocytic transformations and abnormalities of 3q21-3q26 in megakaryoblastic transformations. Patients with LT usually have an early precursor B phenotype associated with a better prognosis. They tend to have either normal or hypodiploid karyotypes. An i(17q) is never seen and +8 and +19 are absent in most series. Duplication of the Ph and loss of the Y are common to both MT and LT. Data relating 14q+ abnormalities to LT are presently ambiguous.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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