Childhood Leukaemia
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Leukaemia is the most common cancer of childhood. The body produces lymphocytes to protect the body from infection, in leukaemia these cells do not mature properly and become too numerous in the blood and bone marrow. Leukaemias may be acute or chronic. The most common type is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). There are a number of other less common acute types which may be grouped together as acute non-lymphoblastic leukaemia (ANLL), this includes acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). This page contains links to information specifically related to Childhood Leukaemia, other relevant resources are available via the Main Menu of Children's Cancer Web

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Latest Research Publications
Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

Information Patients and Family (7 links)


Information for Health Professionals / Researchers (4 links)

Latest Research Publications

This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).

Akyay A, Olcay L, Sezer N, Atay Sönmez Ç
Muscle strength, motor performance, cardiac and muscle biomarkers in detection of muscle side effects during and after acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment in children.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2014; 36(8):594-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Muscle side effects have not been frequently assessed in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients. Our objective was to determine the early and late muscle side effects during childhood ALL treatment. To this end, we examined the early muscle side effects in 15 newly diagnosed "therapy patients" (group I), and the late side effects in 18 ALL survivors "off therapy patients" (group II). Muscle side effects were assessed by measuring hand grip strength (HGS), the "timed up and go" (TUG) test, creatine phosphokinase, myoglobin, plasma electrolytes, cardiac troponin I before and after induction chemotherapy in group I. The same parameters and cranial radiotherapy dose were examined in group II at a single timepoint. Cumulative doses of chemotherapy were calculated, and echocardiograms were obtained for each group. As a result, we found that the HGS and TUG measures of group I at the end of induction were poorer than measures of the first admission, control subjects, and group II. Low HGS measures had been normalized over time, but the TUG measures remained poor. Overt rhabdomyolysis and pyomyositis were not detected in any of the patients. These results suggested that muscle side effect monitoring might be helpful in the follow-up of children with ALL.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Paganin M, Fabbri G, Conter V, et al.
Postinduction minimal residual disease monitoring by polymerase chain reaction in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(31):3553-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common pediatric cancer. Monitoring minimal residual disease (MRD) by using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) provides information for patient stratification and individual risk-directed treatment. Cooperative studies have documented that measurement of blast clearance from the bone marrow during and after induction therapy identifies patient populations with different risk of relapse. We explored the possible contribution of measurements of MRD during the course of treatment.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We used RQ-PCR to detect MRD in 110 unselected patients treated in Italy in the International Collaborative Treatment Protocol for Children and Adolescents With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (AIEOP-BFM ALL 2000). The trial took place in AIEOP centers during postinduction chemotherapy. Results were categorized as negative, low positive (below the quantitative range [< 5 × 10(-4)]), or high positive (≥ 5 × 10(-4)). Patients with at least one low-positive or high-positive result were assigned to the corresponding subgroup.
RESULTS: Patients who tested high positive, low positive, or negative had significantly different cumulative incidences of leukemia relapse: 83.3%, 34.8%, and 8.6%, respectively (P < .001). Two thirds of positive cases were identified within 4 months after induction-consolidation therapy, suggesting that this time frame may be most suitable for cost-effective MRD monitoring, particularly in patients who did not clear their disease at the end of consolidation.
CONCLUSION: These findings provide further insights into the dynamic of MRD and the ongoing effort to define molecular relapse in childhood ALL.

Related: Methotrexate Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Stein EM, Tallman MS
Acute promyelocytic leukemia in children and adolescents.
Acta Haematol. 2014; 132(3-4):307-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a rare subtype of AML characterized by a reciprocal balanced translocation between chromosomes 15 and 17 that fuses the PML gene with the RARα gene and leads to the leukemic phenotype. Although best described in large clinical trials of adults, APL, like other forms of AML, also occurs in children. The positive outcome of children with APL mirrors the dramatic increase in survival seen in adults since the introduction of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). In this paper, we review the diagnosis of APL in children as well as large, retrospective, clinical trial data collected on pediatric APL. We also raise management issues and toxicities that are unique to children.


Eucker J, Zang C, Zhou Y, et al.
TKI258, a multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor is efficacious against human infant/childhood lymphoblastic leukemia in vitro.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(9):4899-907 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: The goal of the present study was to evaluate if the multiple tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) TKI258 has any treatment value for infant/childhood acute lymphoblatic leukemia (ALL), especially those ALLs bearing the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) genes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cell proliferation was measured with 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay; cell apoptosis and cell-cycle distribution with flow cytometry. Gene expression at the protein level was determined by western blotting.
RESULTS: These ALL cells were extremely sensitive to TKI258 treatment with a concentration for 50% inhibition of cell proliferation (IC50) values in the nanomolar range in vitro. By combination with mTOR inhibitor RAD001, a synergistic effect on cell death and cell proliferation was observed in these cells.
CONCLUSION: TKI258 may become a potent therapeutic agent, either alone or in combination with RAD001, for treatment of ALL, especially the entity with MLL genes.

Related: Apoptosis Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology MLL gene Everolimus (Afinitor)


Babor F, Manser AR, Fischer JC, et al.
KIR ligand C2 is associated with increased susceptibility to childhood ALL and confers an elevated risk for late relapse.
Blood. 2014; 124(14):2248-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
A role for HLA class I polymorphism in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has been suggested for many years, but unambiguous associations have not been found. Here, we show that the HLA-C-encoded supertypic epitope C2, which constitutes a high-affinity ligand for the inhibitory natural killer (NK) cell receptor KIR2DL1, is significantly increased in ALL patients (n = 320; P = .005). Stratification for ethnicity and disease subtype revealed a strong association of C2 with B-ALL in German cases (P = .0004). The effect was independent of KIR2DS1 and KIR2DL1 allelic polymorphism and copy number. Analysis of clinical outcome revealed a higher incidence of late relapse (> 2.5 years) with increasing number of C2 alleles (P = .014). Our data establish C2 as novel risk factor and homozygosity for C1 as protective for childhood B-ALL supporting a model in which NK cells are involved in immunosurveillance of pediatric B-ALL via interaction of KIR with HLA-C ligands.

Related: Polymorphisms Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Chang TY, Dvorak CC, Loh ML
Bedside to bench in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia: insights into leukemogenesis from a rare pediatric leukemia.
Blood. 2014; 124(16):2487-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a typically aggressive myeloid neoplasm of childhood that is clinically characterized by overproduction of monocytic cells that can infiltrate organs, including the spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and lung. JMML is categorized as an overlap myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasm (MDS/MPN) by the World Health Organization and also shares some clinical and molecular features with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, a similar disease in adults. Although the current standard of care for patients with JMML relies on allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant, relapse is the most frequent cause of treatment failure. Tremendous progress has been made in defining the genomic landscape of JMML. Insights from cancer predisposition syndromes have led to the discovery of nearly 90% of driver mutations in JMML, all of which thus far converge on the Ras signaling pathway. This has improved our ability to accurately diagnose patients, develop molecular markers to measure disease burden, and choose therapeutic agents to test in clinical trials. This review emphasizes recent advances in the field, including mapping of the genomic and epigenome landscape, insights from new and existing disease models, targeted therapeutics, and future directions.


Del Risco Kollerud R, Blaasaas KG, Claussen B
Risk of leukaemia or cancer in the central nervous system among children living in an area with high indoor radon concentrations: results from a cohort study in Norway.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 111(7):1413-20 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 23/09/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Over the past few years, there has been growing interest in assessing the relationship between exposure to radon at home and the risk of childhood cancer. Previous studies have produced conflicting results, probably because of limitations assessing radon exposure, too few cancer cases and poorly documented health statistics.
METHODS: We used a cohort approach of 0-15-year-old children to examine whether residential radon exposure was associated with childhood leukaemia and cancer in the central nervous system in the Oslo region. The study was based on Norwegian population registers and identified cancer cases from The Cancer Registry of Norway. The residence of every child was geo-coded and assigned a radon exposure.
RESULTS: In all, 712 674 children were followed from 1967 to 2009 from birth to date of cancer diagnosis, death, emigration or 15 years of age. A total of 864 cancer cases were identified, 437 children got leukaemia and 427 got cancer in the central nervous system.Conclusions or interpretation:No association was found for childhood leukaemia. An elevated nonsignificant risk for cancer in the central nervous system was observed. This association should be interpreted with caution owing to the crude exposure assessment and possibilities of confounding.

Related: Brain and Spinal Cord Tumours


Hall G, McGuire E
Milk supply related to childhood leukaemia treatment.
Breastfeed Rev. 2014; 22(2):29-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
This literature review and case study answers the question: 'Do the late effects of childhood cranial radiation therapy include impacts on breastfeeding?' PubMed was searched for papers using the terms lactation and cranial radiotherapy or childhood cranial radiotherapy. The case study was written from one author's experience of helping a mother with a history of childhood cranial radiation therapy. The few available studies report a high rate of lactation failure in women who were treated with cranial radiation therapy for childhood cancer, but the exceptions indicate that lactation failure is not inevitable in this group of mothers. Breastfeeding may ameliorate some of the adverse effects of cranial radiation therapy. Health professionals caring for mothers with a history of cranial radiation therapy must balance encouraging women to breastfeed with preparing them for the possibility that they may be unable to do so.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)


El Sherif NH, Narouz MF, Elkerdany TA, El Habashy SA
Von Willebrand Factor and Factor VIII levels in Egyptian children with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia in relation to peripheral blast cells and steroid therapy.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2014; 36(7):518-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Endothelial dysfunction has been reported in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The aim of this study is to assess Von Willebrand Factor antigen (VWF antigen) and Factor VIII (FVIII) in newly diagnosed ALL patients, in relation to peripheral blast (PB) cells, steroid therapy, and any prognostic potential.
PROCEDURE: VWF antigen and FVIII were assessed initially (D0) and at day 8 (D8) steroid therapy for 32 newly diagnosed ALL patients with and without peripheral blood blast cells.
RESULTS: At diagnosis, patients with PBs had a significantly higher levels of VWF antigen (102.7 ± 22.9% vs. 56.9 ± 8%, P<0.001) and FVIII (93.4 ± 15.9% vs. 6 62.6 ± 18.1%, P<0.001) than those without. Following steroid therapy, both factors decreased in those with PBs, whereas an increase above baseline was observed in those without PBs. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation between PBs and both VWF antigen (P<0.001) and FVIII levels (P=0.002). High-risk patients were comparable with standard-risk group in mean values of VWF antigen (P=0.234) and FVIII (P=0.891) at diagnosis. After 12 months from diagnosis, all patients without PB achieved and maintained complete remission. Those with initial PB reported relapse (12.5%) or death (4.2%) during follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: Markers of endothelial dysfunction namely VWF and FVIII were related to circulating blast cells and steroids therapy through lysis of lymphoblasts results in reduction of both factors, with risk of thrombosis during induction with marked disintegration of malignant cells.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Malkan AD, Wahid FN, Rao BN, Sandoval JA
Aggressive Cunninghamella pneumonia in an adolescent.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2014; 36(7):581-2 [PubMed] Related Publications
Children with hematologic malignancies may be challenged with life-threatening, invasive fungal infections by organisms that would otherwise have a low potential for virulence in healthy hosts. Presented is a case of a 15-year-old adolescent with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia who was receiving steroids and chemotherapy. He developed cough associated with left chest pain with suspicion for fungal pneumonia. He began systemic antifungal therapy, underwent computed tomography of the chest demonstrating a large cavitary lesion (reversed halo sign) in the left lung. Over a 48-hour period the patient clinically deteriorated with worsening pneumonia and required left thoracotomy with nonanatomic pulmonary resection. This case illustrates the aggressive nature of Cunninghamella pneumonia in patients with hematologic malignancies, and the multidisciplinary approach required to have the greatest possible outcome.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)


Bhojwani D, Darbandi R, Pei D, et al.
Severe hypertriglyceridaemia during therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(15):2685-94 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Asparaginase and steroids can cause hypertriglyceridaemia in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). There are no guidelines for screening or management of patients with severe hypertriglyceridaemia (>1000mg/dL) during ALL therapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fasting lipid profiles were obtained prospectively at four time-points for 257 children consecutively enrolled on a frontline ALL study. Risk factors were evaluated by the exact chi-square test. Details of adverse events and management of hypertriglyceridaemia were extracted retrospectively.
RESULTS: Eighteen of 257 (7%) patients developed severe hypertriglyceridaemia. Older age and treatment with higher doses of asparaginase and steroids on the standard/high-risk arm were significant risk factors. Severe hypertriglyceridaemia was not associated with pancreatitis after adjustment for age and treatment arm or with osteonecrosis after adjustment for age. However, patients with severe hypertriglyceridaemia had a 2.5-3 times higher risk of thrombosis compared to patients without, albeit the difference was not statistically significant. Of the 30 episodes of severe hypertriglyceridaemia in 18 patients, seven were managed conservatively while the others with pharmacotherapy. Seventeen of 18 patients continued to receive asparaginase and steroids. Triglyceride levels normalised after completion of ALL therapy in all 12 patients with available measurements.
CONCLUSION: Asparaginase- and steroid-induced transient hypertriglyceridaemia can be adequately managed with dietary modifications and close monitoring without altering chemotherapy. Patients with severe hypertriglyceridaemia were not at increased risk of adverse events, with a possible exception of thrombosis. The benefit of pharmacotherapy in decreasing symptoms and potential complications requires further investigation.

Related: Crisantaspase Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Kennedy AE, Kamdar KY, Lupo PJ, et al.
Examination of HFE associations with childhood leukemia risk and extension to other iron regulatory genes.
Leuk Res. 2014; 38(9):1055-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hereditary hemochromatosis (HFE) variants correlating with body iron levels have shown associations with cancer risk, including childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Using a multi-ethnic sample of cases and controls from Houston, TX, we examined two HFE variants (rs1800562 and rs1799945), one transferrin receptor gene (TFRC) variant (rs3817672) and three additional iron regulatory gene (IRG) variants (SLC11A2 rs422982; TMPRSS6 rs855791 and rs733655) for their associations with childhood ALL. Being positive for either of the HFE variants yielded a modestly elevated odds ratio (OR) for childhood ALL risk in males (1.40, 95% CI=0.83-2.35), which increased to 2.96 (95% CI=1.29-6.80) in the presence of a particular TFRC genotype for rs3817672 (P interaction=0.04). The TFRC genotype also showed an ethnicity-specific association, with increased risk observed in non-Hispanic Whites (OR=2.54, 95% CI=1.05-6.12; P interaction with ethnicity=0.02). The three additional IRG SNPs all showed individual risk associations with childhood ALL in males (OR=1.52-2.60). A polygenic model based on the number of variant alleles in five IRG SNPs revealed a linear increase in risk among males with the increasing number of variants possessed (OR=2.0 per incremental change, 95% CI=1.29-3.12; P=0.002). Our results replicated previous HFE risk associations with childhood ALL in a US population and demonstrated novel associations for IRG SNPs, thereby strengthening the hypothesis that iron excess mediated by genetic variants contributes to childhood ALL risk.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology USA HFE


Hashemi M, Sheybani-Nasab M, Naderi M, et al.
Association of functional polymorphism at the miR-502-binding site in the 3' untranslated region of the SETD8 gene with risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a preliminary report.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(10):10375-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of non-coding RNAs, bind to the 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of mRNAs, where they interfere with translation of genes and are implicated in the pathogenesis of diverse diseases. In the present study, we evaluate the impact of rs16917496 polymorphism within the miR-502 miRNA seed region at the 3'UTR of SEDT8 on childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This case-control study was done on 75 ALL and 115 healthy children. Genotyping of rs16917496 C/T polymorphism was performed using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). The results showed that CT as well as CT + TT decreased the risk of ALL in comparison with CC genotype (odds ratio (OR) = 0.29, 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) = 0.11-0.78, P = 0.014 and OR = 0.31, 95 % CI = 0.12-0.82, P = 0.016, respectively). Our results demonstrated that SETD8 rs16917496 C/T polymorphism was associated with decreased risk of developing pediatric ALL in Zahedan, southeast Iran. Larger studies with different ethnicities are desired to validate our findings.

Related: MicroRNAs Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Kinoshita A, Miyachi H, Matsushita H, et al.
Acute myeloid leukaemia with myelodysplastic features in children: a report of Japanese Paediatric Leukaemia/Lymphoma Study Group.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 167(1):80-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The clinical characteristics and prognostic relevance of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) with myelodysplastic features remains to be clarified in children. We prospectively examined 443 newly diagnosed patients in a multicentre clinical trial for paediatric de novo AML, and found 'AML with myelodysplasia-related changes' (AML-MRC) according to the 2008 World Health Organization classification in 93 (21·0%), in whom 59 were diagnosed from myelodysplasia-related cytogenetics alone, 28 from multilineage dysplasia alone and six from a combination of both. Compared with 111 patients with 'AML, not otherwise specified' (AML-NOS), patients with 'AML-MRC' presented at a younger age, with a lower white blood cell count, higher incidence of 20-30% bone marrow blasts, unfavourable cytogenetics and a lower frequency of Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD), NPM1 and CEBPA mutations. Complete remission rate and 3-year probability of event-free survival were significantly worse in 'AML-MRC' patients (67·7 vs. 85·6%, P < 0·01, 37·1% vs. 53·8%, P = 0·02, respectively), but 3-year overall survival and relapse-free survival were comparable with 'AML-NOS' patients. By multivariate analysis, FLT3-ITD was solely associated with worse overall survival. These results support the distinctive features of the category 'AML-MRC' even in children.

Related: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia AML - Molecular Biology


Malik D, Kaul D, Chauhan N, Marwaha RK
miR-2909-mediated regulation of KLF4: a novel molecular mechanism for differentiating between B-cell and T-cell pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemias.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:175 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: microRNAs (miRNAs) play both oncogenic and oncostatic roles in leukemia. However, the molecular details underlying miRNA-mediated regulation of their target genes in pediatric B- and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALLs) remain unclear. The present study investigated the relationship between miR-2909 and Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), and its functional relevance to cell cycle progression and immortalization in patients with pediatric ALL.
METHODS: Elevated levels of miR-2909 targeted the tumor suppressor gene KLF4 in pediatric B-cell, but not pediatric T-cell ALL, as detected by pMIR-GFP reporter assay. Expression levels of genes including apoptosis-antagonizing transcription factor (AATF), MYC, B-cell lymphoma (BCL3), P21CIP, CCND1 and SP1 in B- and T-cells from patients with pediatric ALL were compared with control levels using real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, western blotting, and reporter assays.
RESULTS: We identified two novel mutations in KLF4 in pediatric T-ALL. A mutation in the 3' untranslated region of the KLF4 gene resulted in loss of miR-2909-mediated regulation, while mutation in its first or third zinc-finger motif (Zf1/Zf3) rendered KLF4 transcriptionally inactive. This mutation was a frameshift mutation resulting in alteration of the Zf3 motif sequence in the mutant KLF4 protein in all pediatric T-ALL samples. Homology models, docking studies and promoter activity of its target gene P21CIP confirmed the lack of function of the mutant KLF4 protein in pediatric T-ALL. Moreover, the inability of miR-2909 to regulate KLF4 and its downstream genes controlling cell cycle and apoptosis in T-cell but not in B-ALL was verified by antagomiR-2909 transfection. Comprehensive sequence analysis of KLF4 identified the predominance of isoform 1 (~55 kDa) in most patients with pediatric B-ALL, while those with pediatric T-ALL expressed isoform 2 (~51 kDa).
CONCLUSIONS: This study identified a novel miR-2909-KLF4 molecular axis able to differentiate between the pathogeneses of pediatric B- and T-cell ALLs, and which may represent a new diagnostic/prognostic marker.

Related: MicroRNAs


Hui L, Lei Z, Peng Z, et al.
Polymorphism analysis of CTLA-4 in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014; 27(4 Suppl):1005-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
To investigate the correlation between cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) gene polymorphism and children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). A total of 86 children of ALL (23 HR, 54SR) and 112 healthy controls was selected. The genptypes were determined by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the PCR product sequencing. Genotype and alleles frequency of SNP-318, SNP+49 and SNP-CT60 were compares among different groups. The frequency of TC, TT genotype and T allele in ALL children at SNP-318 position were statistically higher than controls. In HR group, the frequency of TC, TT genotype at SNP-318 position was statistically higher than SR group. There was no significantly difference in genotype and allele distribution of SNP+49 position among the HR patients, SR patients and control group. (2) The frequency of GG genotype and G allele in ALL children at SNP-CT60 position were significantly higher than controls. The genotype and allele distribution of SNP-CT60 position between different clinical risk groups were no significantly different. As a result of the increased frequency of TC, TT genotype and T allele at SNP-318, ALL children synthesized more CTLA-4 to deliver the inhibitive signal, and this lead to restraint of T cell activation. Such difference at SNP-318 position was obvious in HR children. The SNP+49 position is probably not the main regulating point in ALL. (2) In SNP-CT60 position, the G allele played the main part. The increase of G allele frequency result in the high expression of CTLA-4. such difference at SNP-318 position was obvious in HR children.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Zgheib NK, Akra-Ismail M, Aridi C, et al.
Genetic polymorphisms in candidate genes predict increased toxicity with methotrexate therapy in Lebanese children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2014; 24(8):387-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to analyze polymorphisms in genes involved in 6-mercaptopurine detoxification (TPMT); methotrexate (MTX) metabolism including ABCB1 (or MDR1), ABCC2, SLC19A1 (or RFC1), and SLCO1B1; and the MTX effect mainly MTHFR and TYMS, and to assess whether these polymorphisms are predictors of treatment toxicity and/or MTX clearance.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study included 127 Lebanese acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients, of whom 117 were treated following the St Jude's Children Research Hospital protocol. Genotyping was performed using real-time PCR or restriction fragment length polymorphism. MTX levels were measured using a polarization fluorescence assay from Roche. MTX clearance was estimated on the basis of all available MTX levels measured after high-dose MTX treatment during the consolidation phase.
RESULTS: Five variants in four genes (MTHFR, ABCB1, ABCC2, and TYMS) were shown to be associated with toxicity, but neither was associated with MTX pharmacokinetic parameters. For instance, during the consolidation phase, a statistically significant association was found between MTHFR rs1801133 variant allele carriers and a decrease in hemoglobin levels [odds ratio (OR)=3.057; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.217; 7.680]. In addition, a statistically significant association was found among neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count<500) and variant allele carriers of ABCB1 rs1045642 (OR=5.174; 95% CI: 1.674; 15.989) and ABCB1 rs1128503 (OR=3.364; 95% CI: 1.257; 9.004), respectively. ABCC2 rs717620 variant allele carriers needed significantly more time to reach a MTX level below 0.1 µmol/l (β=5.122; 95% CI: 1.412; 8.831). During the continuation phase, a statistically significant association was found between ABCC2 rs717620 and TYMS 28-bp tandem repeats carriers with the need to decrease weekly MTX doses (β=-4.905; 95% CI: -9; -0.809 and β=-5.770; 95% CI: -10.138; -1.403), respectively.
CONCLUSION: Genotyping for MTHFR, ABCB1, ABCC2, and TYMS polymorphisms may be useful in identifying patients at risk of increased MTX toxicity and the need for dose optimization before treatment initiation.

Related: Mercaptopurine Methotrexate Polymorphisms Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Olinski R, Styczynski J, Olinska E, Gackowski D
Viral infection-oxidative stress/DNA damage-aberrant DNA methylation: separate or interrelated events responsible for genetic instability and childhood ALL development?
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1846(1):226-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a malignant disorder that originates in a single B- or T-lymphocyte progenitor and is characterized by a range of numeric and structural chromosomal aberrations. Although, so far no clear cause can be found for ALL the most commonly recognized and strongest causal factor is infection. However, an interesting question is how viral infection may be responsible for genetic changes that lead to lymphoid cell transformation. A plausible mechanism by which infection might impact the process of leukemogenesis via genetic alteration is through: oxidative stress/DNA damage which is closely linked with inflammation, aberrant expression of AID/ABOBEC family enzymes which may be responsible for massive mutation introduction and alteration of DNA methylation, leading to changes in the expression of hematopoietic genes. In this review we propose several specific molecular mechanisms which link infection with all the above-mentioned processes. The most likely event which links common virus infection with ALL pathogenesis is aberrant expression of AID/APOBEC. This event may be directly responsible for the introduction of point mutations (as the result of cytosine or 5-methylcytosine deamination and formation of G:U or G:T misspairs) as well as changes in DNA methylation status.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)


Ma J, Hua J, Sha Y, Xie Y
The effect of TLX3 expression on the prognosis of pediatric T cell acute lymphocytic leukemia--a systematic review.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(9):8439-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Whether TLX3 is a predictor of prognosis of pediatric T cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (T-ALL) is controversial, with some studies concluding that it is and others concluding the opposite. Therefore, a systematic review was performed to explore the relationship of TLX3 expression with the prognosis of pediatric T-ALL. The PubMed database, The Cochrane Library, conference proceedings, EMBASE databases, and references of published trials and review articles were searched. Two reviewers independently assessed the quality of the trials and extracted data. Hazard ratios (HRs) for disease-free survival (DFS) and odds ratios (OR) for 5-year DFS were pooled using the STATA package. Ultimately, six trials involving 515 patients with pediatric T-ALL were analyzed. The pooled HR (1.07 [0.32, 3.56], p = 0.91) for DFS and OR (1.30 [0.52, 3.27], p = 0.57) for 5-year DFS showed that the TLX3-positive group showed no statistically significant difference with the TLX3-negative group. Our results suggested that TLX3 expression is not an indicator for the prognosis of pediatric T-ALL.


Zannini L, Cattaneo C, Jankovic M, Masera G
Surviving childhood leukemia in a Latin culture: an explorative study based on young adults' written narratives.
J Psychosoc Oncol. 2014; 32(5):576-601 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study investigated memories of childhood leukemia conveyed by survivors belonging to a Latin culture, exploring whether benefit findings was spontaneously reported, as by non-Latin survivors. Three hundred patients previously treated for leukemia were contacted by post/e-mail and asked to write freely about their illness experience. The 106 letters received were analyzed for narrative structure and content, according to a grounded theory approach. Participants expressed most of the themes conveyed by childhood cancer survivors in non-Latin countries, and benefit finding was spontaneously reported. To the latter, the usefulness of creating and maintaining personal narratives on cancer experience, sustained by health care professionals, is discussed.


Sadak KT, Fultz K, Mendizabal A, et al.
International patterns of childhood chronic myeloid leukemia: comparisons between the United States and resource-restricted nations.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014; 61(10):1774-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a rare disease in children and represents approximately 2% of all childhood leukemia. This results in difficulty creating large cohorts of patients for pediatric CML research. The Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) is a patient-access program sponsored by Novartis Oncology and administered by The Max Foundation (MAX) that provides imatinib free of charge to patients in resource-restricted countries who are not able to afford this treatment.
PROCEDURES: GIPAP highlights a cohort of children (n = 3,188) with CML that provides novel insight into international trends in diagnosis, treatment, and survival. These trends can be compared to outcomes in developed nations to crudely assess the impact of an extended access program for CML treatment such as GIPAP.
RESULTS: Overall survival values for children treated for CML within the GIPAP (89%) suggest that imatinib is very effective in middle and low-income countries.
CONCLUSIONS: This may allow for increased international awareness within the scientific community to consider possible reasons for the differences in overall survival in pediatric CML within the United States versus other nations with fewer resources.

Related: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) CML - Molecular Biology USA Imatinib (Glivec)


de la Fuente J, Baruchel A, Biondi A, et al.
Managing children with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML): recommendations for the management of CML in children and young people up to the age of 18 years.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 167(1):33-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic myeloid leukaemia in children and young people is a relatively rare form of leukaemia that shows increased incidence with age and some evidence suggests that the molecular basis differs from that in adults. Significant advances in targeted therapy with the development and use in children of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and the ability to monitor and understand the prognostic significance of minimal residual disease by standardized molecular techniques has shifted the management of this condition from bone marrow transplantation as the main therapeutic modality to individualized treatment for each patient based on achieving specific milestones. The physiological changes occurring during childhood, particularly those affecting growth and development and the long-term use of treatment, pose specific challenges in this age group, which we are only beginning to understand.

Related: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) CML - Molecular Biology


Vitanza NA, Zaky W, Blum R, et al.
Ikaros deletions in BCR-ABL-negative childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia are associated with a distinct gene expression signature but do not result in intrinsic chemoresistance.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014; 61(10):1779-85 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ikaros, the product of IKZF1, is a regulator of lymphoid development and polymorphisms in the gene have been associated with the acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Additionally, IKZF1 deletions and mutations identify high-risk biological subsets of childhood ALL [Georgopoulos et al. Cell 1995;83(2):289-299; Mullighan et al. N Engl J Md 2009;360(5):470-480].
PROCEDURES: To discover the underlying pathways modulated by Ikaros we performed gene expression and gene ontology analysis in IKZF1 deleted primary B-ALL pediatric patient samples. To validate downstream targets we performed qPCR on individual patient samples. We also created IKZF1 knockdown B-ALL cell lines with over 50% reduction of Ikaros, mimicking haplosufficient Ikaros deletions, and again performed qPCR to investigate the downstream targets. Finally, to understand the association of Ikaros deletion with a poor prognosis we challenged our IKZF1 knockdown cell lines with chemotherapy and compared responses to IKZF1 wild-type controls.
RESULTS: We report a specific gene expression signature of 735 up-regulated and 473 down-regulated genes in IKZF1 deleted primary B-ALL pediatric patient samples. Gene ontology studies revealed an up-regulation of genes associated with cell adhesion, cytoskeletal regulation, and motility in IKZF deleted patient samples. Validated up-regulated target genes in IKZF1 deleted patient samples included CTNND1 and PVRL2 (P = 0.0003 and P = 0.001), and RAB3IP and SPIB (P = 0.005 and P = 0.032) were down-regulated. In further studies in IKZF1 knockdown cell lines, apoptosis assays showed no significant chemoresistance.
CONCLUSION: IKZF1 knockdown alone does not impart intrinsic chemotherapy resistance suggesting that the association with a poor prognosis may be due to additional lesions, microenvironmental interactions with the bone marrow niche, or other factors.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Horton TM, Perentesis JP, Gamis AS, et al.
A Phase 2 study of bortezomib combined with either idarubicin/cytarabine or cytarabine/etoposide in children with relapsed, refractory or secondary acute myeloid leukemia: a report from the Children's Oncology Group.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014; 61(10):1754-60 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: This Phase 2 study tested the tolerability and efficacy of bortezomib combined with reinduction chemotherapy for pediatric patients with relapsed, refractory or secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Correlative studies measured putative AML leukemia initiating cells (AML-LIC) before and after treatment.
PROCEDURE: Patients with <400 mg/m(2) prior anthracycline received bortezomib combined with idarubicin (12 mg/m(2) days 1-3) and low-dose cytarabine (100 mg/m(2) days 1-7) (Arm A). Patients with ≥400 mg/m(2) prior anthracycline received bortezomib with etoposide (100 mg/m(2) on days 1-5) and high-dose cytarabine (1 g/m(2) every 12 hours for 10 doses) (Arm B).
RESULTS: Forty-six patients were treated with 58 bortezomib-containing cycles. The dose finding phase of Arm B established the recommended Phase 2 dose of bortezomib at 1.3 mg/m(2) on days 1, 4, and 8 with Arm B chemotherapy. Both arms were closed after failure to meet predetermined efficacy thresholds during the first stage of the two-stage design. The complete response (CR + CRp) rates were 29% for Arm A and 43% for Arm B. Counting additional CRi responses (CR with incomplete neutrophil recovery), the overall CR rates were 57% for Arm A and 48% for Arm B. The 2-year overall survival (OS) was 39 ± 15%. Correlative studies showed that LIC depletion after the first cycle was associated with clinical response.
CONCLUSION: Bortezomib is tolerable when added to chemotherapy regimens for relapsed pediatric AML, but the regimens did not exceed preset minimum response criteria to allow continued accrual. This study also suggests that AML-LIC depletion has prognostic value.

Related: Cytarabine Etoposide Idarubicin Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia AML - Molecular Biology Bortezomib


Caldwell JT, Edwards H, Buck SA, et al.
Targeting the wee1 kinase for treatment of pediatric Down syndrome acute myeloid leukemia.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014; 61(10):1767-73 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Most Down syndrome children with acute myeloid leukemia (DS-AML) have an overall excellent prognosis, however, patients who suffer an induction failure or relapse, have an extremely poor prognosis. Hence, new therapies need to be developed for this subgroup of DS-AML patients. One new therapeutic approach is preventing cell cycle checkpoint activation by inhibiting the upstream kinase wee1 with the first-in-class inhibitor MK-1775 in combination with the standard genotoxic agent cytarabine (AraC).
PROCEDURE: Using the clinically relevant DS-AML cell lines CMK and CMY, as well as ex vivo primary DS-AML patient samples, the ability of MK-1775 to enhance the cytotoxicity of AraC was investigated with MTT assays. The mechanism by which MK-1775 enhanced AraC cytotoxicity was investigated in the cell lines using Western blots to probe CDK1 and H2AX phosphorylation and flow cytometry to determine apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, DNA damage, and aberrant mitotic entry.
RESULTS: MK-1775 alone had modest single-agent activity, however, MK-1775 was able to synergize with AraC in causing proliferation arrest in both cell lines and primary patient samples, and enhance AraC-induced apoptosis. MK-1775 was able to decrease inhibitory CDK1(Y15) phosphorylation at the relatively low concentration of 100 nM after only 4 hours. Furthermore, it was able to enhance DNA damage induced by AraC and partially abrogate cell cycle arrest. Importantly, the DNA damage enhancement appeared in early S-phase.
CONCLUSIONS: MK-1775 is able to enhance the cytotoxicity of AraC in DS-AML cells and presents a promising new treatment approach for DS-AML.

Related: Apoptosis Cytarabine Down Syndrome and Cancer Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia AML - Molecular Biology


Tao YF, Xu LX, Lu J, et al.
Metallothionein III (MT3) is a putative tumor suppressor gene that is frequently inactivated in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia by promoter hypermethylation.
J Transl Med. 2014; 12:182 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the second most common form of leukemia in children. Aberrant DNA methylation patterns are a characteristic feature in various tumors, including AML. Metallothionein III (MT3) is a tumor suppresser reported to show promoter hypermethylated in various cancers. However, the expression and molecular function of MT3 in pediatric AML is unclear.
METHODS: Eleven human leukemia cell lines and 41 pediatric AML samples and 20 NBM/ITP (Norma bone marrow/Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) control samples were analyzed. Transcription levels of MT3 were evaluated by semi-quantitative and real-time PCR. MT3 methylation status was determined by methylation specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite genomic sequencing (BSG). The molecular mechanism of MT3 was investigated by apoptosis assays and PCR array analysis.
RESULTS: The MT3 promoter was hypermethylated in leukemia cell lines. More CpG's methylated of MT3 was observed 39.0% pediatric AML samples compared to 10.0% NBM controls. Transcription of MT3 was also significantly decreased in AML samples compared to NBM/ITP controls (P < 0.001); patients with methylated MT3 exhibited lower levels of MT3 expression compared to those with unmethylated MT3 (P = 0.049). After transfection with MT3 lentivirus, proliferation was significantly inhibited in AML cells in a dose-dependent manner (P < 0.05). Annexin V assay showed that apoptosis was significantly upregulated MT3-overexpressing AML cells compared to controls. Real-time PCR array analysis revealed 34 dysregulated genes that may be implicated in MT3 overexpression and apoptosis in AML, including FOXO1.
CONCLUSION: MT3 may be a putative tumor suppressor gene in pediatric AML. Epigenetic inactivation of MT3 via promoter hypermethylation was observed in both AML cell lines and pediatric AML samples. Overexpression of MT3 may inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in AML cells. FOXO1 was dysregulated in MT3-overexpressing cells, offering an insight into the mechanism of MT3-induced apoptosis. However, further research is required to determine the underlying molecular details.

Related: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia AML - Molecular Biology


Essig S, Li Q, Chen Y, et al.
Risk of late effects of treatment in children newly diagnosed with standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study cohort.
Lancet Oncol. 2014; 15(8):841-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Treatment of patients with paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has evolved such that the risk of late effects in survivors treated in accordance with contemporary protocols could be different from that noted in those treated decades ago. We aimed to estimate the risk of late effects in children with standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treated with contemporary protocols.
METHODS: We used data from similarly treated members of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study cohort. The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study is a multicentre, North American study of 5-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed between 1970 and 1986. We included cohort members if they were aged 1·0-9·9 years at the time of diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and had received treatment consistent with contemporary standard-risk protocols for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We calculated mortality rates and standardised mortality ratios, stratified by sex and survival time, after diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We calculated standardised incidence ratios and absolute excess risk for subsequent neoplasms with age-specific, sex-specific, and calendar-year-specific rates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program. Outcomes were compared with a sibling cohort and the general US population.
FINDINGS: We included 556 (13%) of 4329 cohort members treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Median follow-up of the survivors from 5 years after diagnosis was 18·4 years (range 0·0-33·0). 28 (5%) of 556 participants had died (standardised mortality ratio 3·5, 95% CI 2·3-5·0). 16 (57%) deaths were due to causes other than recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Six (1%) survivors developed a subsequent malignant neoplasm (standardised incidence ratio 2·6, 95% CI 1·0-5·7). 107 participants (95% CI 81-193) in each group would need to be followed-up for 1 year to observe one extra chronic health disorder in the survivor group compared with the sibling group. 415 participants (376-939) in each group would need to be followed-up for 1 year to observe one extra severe, life-threatening, or fatal disorder in the group of survivors. Survivors did not differ from siblings in their educational attainment, rate of marriage, or independent living.
INTERPRETATION: The prevalence of adverse long-term outcomes in children treated for standard risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia according to contemporary protocols is low, but regular care from a knowledgeable primary-care practitioner is warranted.
FUNDING: National Cancer Institute, American Lebanese-Syrian Associated Charities, Swiss Cancer Research.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology USA


Deziel NC, Rull RP, Colt JS, et al.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in residential dust and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Environ Res. 2014; 133:388-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known or probable human carcinogens. We evaluated the relationship between PAH exposure and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) using concentrations in residential dust as an exposure indicator. We conducted a population-based case-control study (251 ALL cases, 306 birth-certificate controls) in Northern and Central California from 2001 to 2007. We collected residential dust using a high volume small surface sampler (HVS3) (n=185 cases, 212 controls) or by sampling from participants' household vacuum cleaners (n=66 cases, 94 controls). We evaluated log-transformed concentrations of 9 individual PAHs, the summed PAHs, and the summed PAHs weighted by their carcinogenic potency (the toxic equivalence). We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using logistic regression adjusting for demographic characteristics and duration between diagnosis/reference date and dust collection. Among participants with HVS3 dust, risk of ALL was not associated with increasing concentration of any PAHs based on OR perln(ng/g). Among participants with vacuum dust, we observed positive associations between ALL risk and increasing concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (OR perln[ng/g]=1.42, 95% CI=0.95, 2.12), dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (OR=1.98, 95% CI=1.11, 3.55), benzo[k]fluoranthene (OR=1.71, 95% CI=0.91, 3.22), indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene (OR=1.81, 95% CI=1.04, 3.16), and the toxic equivalence (OR=2.35, 95% CI=1.18, 4.69). The increased ALL risk among participants with vacuum dust suggests that PAH exposure may increase the risk of childhood ALL; however, reasons for the different results based on HVS3 dust samples deserve further study.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology


Aksu T, Erdem AY, Fettah A, et al.
Massive splenic infarction and portal vein thrombosis in children with chronic myeloid leukemia.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2014; 36(7):e471-2 [PubMed] Related Publications
Massive splenic infarction and portal vein thrombosis (PVT) due to chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is extremely rare. We describe 2 children who were presented with massive splenic infarction and PVT in the course of CML. Massive splenic infarction and PVT treated with splenectomy in one and with medical treatment in another in whom PVT resolved by cytoreductive treatment, led to downsizing of spleen or splenectomy. Splenic infarct and PVT should be considered in CML patients with long-lasting severe abdominal pain despite appropriate medical attempts. Splenectomy should be spared for persistent symptoms and complications.

Related: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) CML - Molecular Biology


Dang DN, Morris HD, Feusner JH, et al.
Therapy-induced secondary acute myeloid leukemia with t(11;19)(q23;p13.1) in a pediatric patient with relapsed acute promyelocytic leukemia.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2014; 36(8):e546-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia is classified based upon recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities. The t(15;17)(q24.1;q21.1) abnormality is found in 5% to 8% of de novo acute myeloid leukemia and is diagnostic of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). The translocation results in fusion of the retinoic acid receptor-α (RARA) gene at 17q21.1 and the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) gene at 15q24.1. Standard APL therapy is a combination of all-trans retinoic acid and anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Anthracycline treatment is associated with secondary clonal chromosomal aberrations that can lead to therapy-related secondary myeloid neoplasms. We present a pediatric case of relapsed APL coexistent with treatment-associated secondary myeloid neoplasm with t(11;19)(q23;p13.1).

Related: Chromosome 15 Chromosome 19 Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia AML - Molecular Biology RARA gene PML gene


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