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Leukemia. 1997 Sep;11(9):1447-52.

Internal tandem duplication of FLT3 associated with leukocytosis in acute promyelocytic leukemia. Leukemia Study Group of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (Kohseisho).

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  • 1Nagoya University School of Medicine, Japan.


FLT3 is a member of receptor tyrosine kinases expressed in leukemia cells, as well as in hematopoietic stem cells. Recently, a somatic alteration of the FLT3 gene was found in acute myeloid leukemia, as an internal tandem duplication (FLT3/ITD) which caused elongation of the juxtamembrane (JM) domain of FLT3. Here we characterized the FLT3/ITD and investigated its clinical significance in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Seventy-four newly diagnosed patients with APL, who were treated with the same protocol in a multi-institutional study, were studied for the FLT3/ITD. Genomic and message sequences of the FLT3 gene were amplified by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and elongated PCR products were sequenced. Fifteen patients (20.3%) had FLT3/ITD, all of which were transcribed in frame. Location of the duplicated fragments (six to 30 amino acids) varied from patient to patient. However, they always contained either Y591 or Y599, but the tyrosine kinase domain was not significantly affected. This finding implied that signal transduction of FLT3 is amplified by the duplication. Clinically, the presence of FLT3/ITD was related to high peripheral white blood cell counts as well as peripheral leukemia cell counts (P < 0.0001), high LDH level (P = 0.04), and low fibrinogen concentration (P = 0.04). These data suggest that FLT3/ITD plays a significant role in progression of APL.

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