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Mol Cell Biol. 1984 Jun;4(6):1096-103.

Structure and expression of the oncogene c-myc in fresh tumor material from patients with hematopoietic malignancies.


c-myc is the cellular gene homologous to the transforming sequence of MC29, an acute avian retrovirus. The human c-myc gene was cloned and used to study the structure and expression of c-myc in a variety of human hematopoietic malignancies. In a careful study of 106 patients, c-myc RNA was found to be expressed at elevated levels in tumor cells of 17 leukemia patients and five lymphoma patients. The c-myc gene was found to be rearranged in two lymphomas, an African Burkitt's lymphoma and a non-Hodgkins lymphoma in leukemic phase. The Burkitt's rearrangement involved the insertion of new DNA sequences upstream from the c-myc 5' coding region, presumably replacing the normal c-myc transcriptional promoter. None of the other 104 patients, including 20 with elevated myc expression, exhibited any evidence of a genetic rearrangement involving the c-myc gene. Our results show that there is a subset of hematopoietic malignancies characterized by elevated expression of c-myc. This elevated expression in most cases is not due to obvious genetic changes (rearrangement, amplification) at the c-myc locus nor to chromosomal translocations in the vicinity of this gene.

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