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Blood. 1991 Dec 1;78(11):2969-72.

Duration of the preclinical phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia: a case report.

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Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021.


The molecular events that allow for clonal expansion of the malignant population in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) are poorly understood. Recent experiments in transgenic mice suggest a close temporal relationship between expression of the aberrant protein and manifestation of a hematologic neoplasm that resembles CML; tracing the same phenomenon in humans has not been possible. We studied a patient who underwent autologous bone marrow harvest after completion of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for advanced stage Hodgkin's disease. At the time of harvest his peripheral blood counts and bone marrow were morphologically normal. Sixteen months later he developed the clinical manifestations of CML. Detailed molecular evaluation of the harvested marrow showed that a small number of cells contained the Philadelphia chromosome. The time interval required for expansion of the malignant clone, as suggested by this particular patient, was at least 16 months although it is recognized that this figure may be variable.

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