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Cancer Res. 1997 Mar 15;57(6):1144-50.

Cytogenetic and interphase cytogenetic characterization of atypical chronic lymphocytic leukemia carrying BCL1 translocation.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Terapie Avanzate, Universita di Ferrara, Italy.


Conventional chromosome analysis (CCA) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) studies, using a 390-kb yeast artificial chromosome probe spanning the area of multiple breakpoints of the BCL1 locus at 11q13, were performed on 57 patients fulfilling the French-American-British criteria for the diagnosis of atypical B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). To better define the incidence of 13q deletions and trisomy 12, FISH analysis was also performed using a cosmid probe that recognized a DNA sequence between the Rb gene and the D13S25 locus at band 13q14 and a chromosome 12-specific pericentromeric probe. All patients were characterized by cytoimmunological and hematological studies. Fourteen cases displayed three fluorescent signals in 41-98% interphase cells when hybridized to the BCL1 yeast artificial chromosome probe, documenting the presence of BCL1 translocation (BCL1-positive cases). The presence of t(11;14)(q13;q32) was ascertained in 12 cases using CCA and by dual color interphase FISH using the BCLI probe and a 14q telomere probe in 2 karyotypically normal cases. The remaining 43 cases had two signals in more than 95% interphase cells (BCL1-negative) and did not have the t(11;14) at CCA. Although 13q14 deletions were seen by means of CCA in only 5 of 14 BCL1-positive cases, hemizygous or homozygous deletions at band 13q14 were detected by FISH in 11 of 14 BCL1-positive cases, as compared with 17 of 43 BCL1-negative cases (P = 0.01). A subclone with trisomy 12 in addition to BCL1 translocation and del(13q14) was present in four BCL1-positive cases. We arrived at the following conclusions: (a) FISH with this BCL1 YAC probe is an efficient method for the detection of the t(11;14) and of the corresponding involvement of the BCL1 locus in this lymphoproliferative disorder; (b) the majority of BCL1-positive atypical CLLs by French-American-British criteria may carry 13q14 deletions; (c) the recognition of this cytogenetic subset of atypical CLL, sharing some immunological and cytogenetic features with mantle cell lymphoma, may be important, because these patients usually present isolated peripheral blood and marrow lymphocytosis, with or without mild to moderate spleen involvement, and may require early cytotoxic treatment.

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