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Leukemia. 1996 Jun;10(6):957-63.

Incidence and clinical outcome of children with BCR/ABL-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). A prospective RT-PCR study based on 673 patients enrolled in the German pediatric multicenter therapy trials ALL-BFM-90 and CoALL-05-92.

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Oncogenetic Laboratory, Children's Hospital, University of Giessen, Germany.


A variety of oncogenes are activated by specific chromosomal translocations, which are associated with distinct subtypes of leukemia. The identification of these rearrangements provides critical diagnostic and prognostic information, which may contribute to the selection of specific anti-leukemic therapy. The translocation t(9;22), the equivalent of the BCR/ABL rearrangement, is associated with a poor prognosis. We therefore used RT-PCR to detect this molecular event in a prospective study including 890 children. 673 of them suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at primary diagnosis and a transcription of the chimeric gene was detected in 21 of 648 with a successful analysis (3.2%). All children were treated by one of the two German multicenter childhood ALL therapy studies ALL-BFM-90 or COALL-05-92, respectively. Comparison of clinical features between BCR/ABL-positive and -negative children showed no significant differences regarding WBC, percentage of blasts, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly and age. Immunophenotypic studies at diagnosis in 21 BCR/ABL-positive children identified common ALL in 16 patients (76.2%), pre-B-ALL in four (19.0%), and an early T-lineage ALL in one (4.8%). Coexpression of myeloid antigens (CD13 and/or CD33) was observed in six of 16 common ALL patients as well as in the one child with early T-lineage ALL phenotype. The type of breakpoint (m-BCR/ABL: n = 14; M-BCR/ABL: n = 7) showed no correlation with clinical parameters. A comparison of cytogenetic and molecular data was performed in 16 positive patients and was concordant in all of them. We analyzed the response to the prednisone pretreatment and found a higher incidence of poor responders among the BCR/ABL-positive children. Regarding the event-free survival (EFS) of BCR/ABL-positive (0.53) and -negative patients (0.79) after a follow-up of 2 years, significant differences (P < 0.05) between both groups could be demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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