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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 1998 Mar;21(3):270-5.

RAS mutations in pediatric leukemias with MLL gene rearrangements.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Translocations of the MLL gene at chromosome band 11q23 are the most common cytogenetic alterations in de novo leukemia in infants and in leukemia related to chemotherapy with DNA topoisomerase II inhibitors. Experiments on knock-in mice suggest that additional mutational events may by required for full leukemogenesis. Therefore, we used single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and an allele-specific restriction enzyme assay to investigate the frequency of KRAS and NRAS mutations in 32 pediatric leukemias with translocation of the MLL gene. Of 25 de novo cases, 13 were acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), 10 were acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and 2 were biphenotypic. Three secondary leukemias were AML, 1 was biphenotypic, 1 was ALL, and 2 were diagnosed as myelodysplasia. The frequency of RAS mutations was 2 of 10 in de novo AML. Both mutations occurred in infant monoblastic variants. RAS mutations were otherwise absent in this series. This is the first report of congenital leukemias where translocation of the MLL gene and RAS mutation coexist. The frequency of RAS mutations in de novo AMLs with MLL gene translocations is similar to that in other forms of AML, but RAS mutations play a limited role in lymphoid and treatment-related leukemias with similar translocations.

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