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Schmetzer, Helga Maria; Braun, S.; Wiesner, D.; Duell, T.; Gerhartz, Helmut Heinrich; Mittermueller, J. (2000): Gene rearrangements in bone marrow cells of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia. In: Acta Haematologica, No. 3: pp. 125-134


At diagnosis, clonal gene rearrangement probes {[}retinoic acid receptor (RAR)-alpha, major breakpoint cluster region (M-bcr), immunoglobulin (Ig)-JH, T cell receptor (TcR)-beta, myeloid lymphoid leukemia (MLL) or cytokine genes (GM-CSF, G-CSF, IL-3)] were detected in bone marrow samples from 71 of 153 patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) (46%): in 41 patients with primary AML (pAML) (58%) and in 30 patients with secondary AML (42%). In all cases with promyelocytic leukemia (AML-M3) RAR-alpha gene rearrangements were detected (n = 9). Gene rearrangements in the Ig-JH or the TcR-beta or GM-CSF or IL-3 or MLL gene were detected in 12, 10, 16 and 12% of the cases, respectively, whereas only few cases showed gene rearrangements in the M-bcr (6%) or G-CSF gene (3%). Survival of pAML patients with TcR-beta gene rearrangements was longer and survival of pAML patients with IL-3 or GM-CSF gene rearrangement was shorter than in patients without those rearrangements. No worse survival outcome was seen in patients with rearrangements in the MLL, Ig-JH or M-bcr gene. In remission of AML (CR), clonal gene rearrangements were detected in 23 of 48 cases (48%) if samples were taken once in CR, in 23 of 26 cases (88%) if samples were taken twice in CR and in 23 of 23 cases (100%) if samples were studied three times in CR. All cases with gene rearrangements at diagnosis showed the same kind of rearrangement at relapse of the disease (n = 12). Our data show that (1) populations with clonal gene rearrangements can be regularly detected at diagnosis, in CR and at relapse of AML. (2) Certain gene rearrangements that are detectable at diagnosis have a prognostic significance for the patients' outcome. Our results point out the significance of gene rearrangement analyses at diagnosis of AML in order to identify `poor risk' patients - independently of the karyotype. Moreover, the persistence of clonal cells in the further course of AML can be studied by gene rearrangement analysis. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.