Chromosome abnormalities in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and their possible clinical significance are briefly reviewed based upon the literature and 60 cases studied at the University of Minnesota. Almost all cases of ALL appear to demonstrate clonal abnormalities; the major abnormal clone is usually hyperdiploid or pseudodiploid. Among cases of non-T, non-B ALL, at least four translocations appear to be present with an increased frequency: t(9;22); t(4;11); t(11;14); and t(1;3). Patients with these translocations appear to have unique clinical and laboratory findings. Although the presence of abnormal clones does not seem to influence remission duration, the nature of the abnormality does. Patients whose leukemias demonstrate predominantly a pseudodiploid abnormal clone or a translocation have significantly shorter first remissions. Most importantly, among patients with non-T, non-B ALL, the presence or absence of translocations may separate poor responders from good responders.


Presented at the Conference on Cell Markers in Acute Leukemia, March 4 and 5, 1980, Bethesda, Md. Supported in part by USPHS Grants CA 26273 and CB-84261, the Masonic Hospital Fund, Inc., the Minnesota Medical Foundation, and American Cancer Society Grant CH-167.

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