A diminutive chromosome 21 centromere in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

KA Roberts, M Martineau, ZJ Broadfield, BE Gibson, L Harewood, J Stewart, CJ Harrison

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A chance observation of a tiny constitutional variant for the centromere of chromosome 21 in two patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), suggested a possible correlation with the cytogenetic findings in their leukemic cells. Interphase FISH revealed three 13/21 centromeric signals and a single MLL signal in the blast cells of each patient. Metaphase FISH with dual-color application of whole-chromosome paint (wcp) and centromeric probes for chromosome 21 showed two copies of chromosome 21, one with a tiny centromeric signal which corresponded to the invisible centromere in the interphase cells. Patient 2700 had a normal karyotype in his bone marrow at diagnosis. All metaphases from his stimulated peripheral blood also had the tiny chromosome 21 centromere, proving it to be a constitutional variant. Patient 3314 showed the abnormal karyotype 46,XY,inv(1)(p?q?),del(11)(q?),del(12)(p?),inc in his bone marrow. Interphase FISH revealed only one copy each of the ABL and ETV6 genes, in addition to the loss of the MLL signal. The question arises, is there an association between the diminutive centromeric signals for chromosome 21 and the chromosomal instability demonstrated by the deletions of key genes from the leukemic blasts of these two patients?
Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Genetics and Cytogenetics
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


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