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Identification of the t(15;17) in AML FAB types other than M3: evaluation of the role of molecular screening for the PML/RARalpha rearrangement in newly diagnosed AML

Allford, S., Grimwade, D., Langabeer, S., Duprez, E., Saurin, A., Chatters, S., Walker, Helen, Roberts, P., Rogers, J., Bain, B., Patterson, K., McKernan, A., Freemont, P., Solomon, E. and Burnett, Alan Kenneth 1999. Identification of the t(15;17) in AML FAB types other than M3: evaluation of the role of molecular screening for the PML/RARalpha rearrangement in newly diagnosed AML. British Journal of Haematology 105 (1) , pp. 198-207. 10.1046/j.1365-2141.1999.01312.x

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Abstract

Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) is characterized by the t(15;17) leading to the formation of PML-RARα and RARα-PML fusion genes; this rearrangement has been considered both diagnostic for, and restricted to, this subtype of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML FAB M3). We describe two cases of AML with the t(15;17) associated with a PML/RARα rearrangement which lacked typical APL morphology, classified as FAB M1 and M2 respectively. In both cases morphological review revealed small populations of cells which exhibited some features associated with APL. In the case classified as M1, PML immunofluorescence studies revealed the classic microparticulate nuclear staining pattern as observed in typical cases of APL with the t(15;17). Similarly, blasts from this case were found to be sensitive to ATRA in vitro as determined by NBT reduction test and by normalization of the PML nuclear body staining pattern. To determine the frequency of PML/RARα rearrangements in FAB subtypes other than M3, 530 patients from the MRC AML trials were screened using nested RT-PCR. Only one individual, initially classified as M5 with a normal karyotype, was found to have a PML/RARα rearrangement. The diagnosis was revised to M3 variant on subsequent morphological review. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that, in rare cases, the t(15;17) is not restricted to patients with M3 morphology as defined by current FAB criteria. Therefore, although we consider cytogenetic analysis of newly diagnosed cases of AML to be mandatory, our data suggests that routine molecular screening for PML/RARα rearrangements is not justified and should be reserved for those cases displaying features which may be suspicious of APL even if such cells comprise only a minority of the total population.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0007-1048
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 03:22
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/71936

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