Children with leukemia face a shortened life and the discomfort of repeated chemotherapy treatment. A subset has leukemias, the chromosomes of which have a translocation - a piece of chromosome 11 has broken off and attached itself to another chromosome. These children have a particularly poor prognosis and often suffer from early relapse after chemotherapy. According to new research to be published by Nature Genetics, leukemias with the chromosome-11 translocation constitute a distinct form of leukemia.
At the moment, leukemia with the chromosome-11 translocation is classified as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but patients do not respond well to standard therapies. By examining the expression levels of all known human genes in these leukemias, Stanley Korsmeyer and colleagues at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute show that those with the translocation have gene expression profiles distinct from those of other leukemias. The authors conclude that these profiles distinguish the new disease, now called mixed-lineage leukemia, from two other types of leukemia - acute lymphoblastic and acute myeloid. In fact, the expression profiles of the three types of leukemia tested are so different, they can be distinguished from one another by gene expression profile alone. The expression profile of the mixed-lineage leukemia also indicates tantalizing drug targets.
Stanley J. Korsmeyer
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Tel: +1 617 632 6402
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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