To identify the genetic events that may play an important role in leukemogenesis of childhood ALL, we report for the first time the allelotyping of childhood ALL. Twenty-four cases of childhood ALL were screened for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) using 101 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers, which are distributed among all autosomal chromosomes. For LOH analysis on both chromosomes 9 and 12, 54 childhood ALL samples were examined. The most frequent allelic loss was found on chromosomal arm 9p, where 20 of 50 (40%) informative samples showed LOH. Moreover, nearly 30% of samples that did not have either homozygous deletions or point mutations of the putative tumor suppressor genes CDKN2/INK4A/p16 and INK4B/p15 on chromosomal arm 9p had LOH at D9S171. Loss of chromosomal arm 12p was also frequent (26%). Mutational analysis suggested that the altered gene on 12p is not the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27/Kip1, which is also on 12p. Several other regions that had LOH included 1p, 4q, 5p, 6q, 7p, 8p, 9q, 10q, 13q, 17p, 17q, 18q, 19q, and 22q. Of 24 patients, 19 (79%) showed allelic loss on at least one chromosomal arm. Samples of two patients (8%) showed LOH on almost all chromosomes. Fractional allelic loss, calculated for each sample as the total number of chromosomal arms lost/total number of arms with information, showed a median value of 0.04 and a mean of 0.123 (range, 0 to 0.95). This fractional allelic loss is lower than those reported for many solid tumors. This analysis shows the extreme power of LOH analysis using microsatellite markers in childhood ALL.

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Supported in part by NIH Grants DK42792 and CA42710 and grants from the Concern Foundation, the Parker Hughes Trust, the Louis Shushan Fund (to H. P. K.), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and Deutsche Krebshilfe (to C. R. B.).

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