The incidence peaks of the childhood acute leukemias reflect specific cytogenetic aberrations

Erik Forestier, Kjeld Schmiegelow, Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology NOPHO


The correlation between age and karyotype was studied in 1425, 0 to 14.9 years old children who were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute myeloblastic leukemia. Almost 80% of the non-Down B-cell precursor ALL cases in the 2 to 7 years frequency peak group who had aberrant cytogenetic results had either a high-hyperdiploid clone (51 to 61 chromosomes) or a translocation t(12;21)(p13;q22). Among B-cell precursor ALL cases, high white blood cell counts correlated with earlier age at diagnosis (rS=-0.23; P<0.001) being most evident for 11q23/MLL-aberrations, translocation t(12;21)(p13;q22), and high-hyperdiploidy. Among acute myeloblastic leukemia patients, frequency peaks were found for those with MLL/11q23 rearrangements (peak: first year), Down syndrome (peak: second to third year), or cytogenetic abnormalities other than translocations t(8;21), t(15;17), and inv(16)/t(16;16) (peak: first to third year). The epidemiology of the cytogenetic subsets of acute leukemias questions whether age as a disease-related prognostic parameter has any relevance in childhood leukemia clinical research beyond being a surrogate marker for more important, truly biologic features such as cytogenetic aberrations and white cell count at diagnosis. Further research is needed to explore whether the 2 to 7 years age incidence peak in childhood ALL harbor yet unidentified cytogenetic subsets with the same natural history as the high-hyperdiploid and t(12;21)-positive leukemias.

TidsskriftJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)486-95
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2006


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