The location of breakpoints within the breakpoint cluster region (bcr) of chromosome 22 in chronic myeloid leukemia
Chromosomes, Human, Pair 22
Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive
Rearrangement of the breakpoint cluster region (bcr) was demonstrated by Southern blot analysis in the DNA in each of 68 patients with Ph chromosome-positive CML and in 3 of 7 patients with apparent Ph chromosome-negative CML. In contrast, no bcr rearrangement could be found in DNA from 17 normal individuals and 28 patients with various hematologic disorders other than CML or ALL. An analysis of the location of the breakpoints within the bcr indicated that 3' breakpoints were significantly more common in patients in blast crisis or accelerated phase disease compared to those with chronic phase disease. Patients with chronic phase disease and 3' breakpoints had shorter average disease duration than that for chronic phase patients with 5' breakpoints, although the difference between these two groups of patients was not statistically significant. For patients who had progressed to accelerated disease or blast crisis, a statistically significant difference in chronic phase disease duration could be demonstrated between 11 patients with 3' breakpoints (average chronic phase 30.2 months) and 15 patients with 5' breakpoints (average chronic phase 50.6 months). For 8 patients studied in both chronic phase and accelerated or blast crisis, the location of the breakpoint did not change. We suggest that the bcr-abl fusion protein associated with a 3' breakpoint could result in more rapid progression to acute disease, and this may account for differences in the relative frequency of 3' and 5' breakpoints at different disease stages. Although more studies are required, identifying CML patients with a higher propensity for early blast transformation may eventually prove to be of some clinical value.