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Med Oncol. 2013 Mar;30(1):474. doi: 10.1007/s12032-013-0474-2. Epub 2013 Feb 3.

Frequency of thiopurine S-methyltransferase mutant alleles in indigenous and admixed Guatemalan patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Unidad Nacional de Oncología Pediátrica, Guatemala City, Guatemala.


Thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) polymorphisms affect the enzyme's activity and are predictive for the efficacy and toxicity of thiopurine treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), autoimmune diseases and organ transplants. Because inter-ethnic differences in the distribution of these polymorphisms have been documented, we sequenced the TMPT gene in 95 Guatemalans, yet identified no new alleles. We also determined the frequency of the TPMT 2, 3A, 3B and 3C alleles in 270 admixed and 177 indigenous pediatric patients with ALL and healthy subjects from Guatemala using TaqMan assays and DNA sequencing. Among the 447 subjects genotyped, 10.0 % of the ALL cases and 13.6 % of the healthy controls were heterozygous for one of the four TPMT variants screened. The genotype frequencies in ALL and control populations were 0.7 and 1.7 % for TPMT 1/ 2, 7.4 and 10 % for TPMT 1/3A, 0.3 and 0 % for TPMT 1/B, and 1.5 and 1.1 % for TPMT 1/C, respectively (p = 0.30). No statistically significant differences between admixed and indigenous ALL (p = 0.67) or controls (p = 0.41) groups were detected; however, 17 % of the admixed healthy group bore one TPMT mutant allele, and they have one of the highest reported frequencies of TPMT mutant allele carriers. Because of the clinical implications of these variants for therapeutic response, TPMT allele testing should be considered in all Guatemalan patients to reduce adverse side-effects from thiopurine drug treatments.

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