Abberant cytogenetic evolution pattern of Philadelphia-positive chronic myeloid leukemia treated with interferon-alpha

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The cytogenetic evolution of 32 Philadelphia (Ph)-positive chronic myeloid leukemias (CML) receiving interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) therapy was compared to the patterns in untreated CML and cases treated with busulfan (Bu), hydroxyurea (Hy), and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Half of the CML receiving IFN-alpha had at least one of the well-known major or minor route aberrations whereas 16 cases displayed unusual secondary abnormalities, of which only del(7p) and del(13q) were recurrent; a frequency significantly higher than in CML without therapy or after Bu and Hy treatment (P < 0.001) but similar to the one found post-BMT. The incidence of cases with cytogenetically divergent subclones, ie cell populations with unrelated aberrations in addition to the t(9;22), was also higher in the IFN-alpha group compared to the untreated, Bu and Hy groups (P < 0.01) but similar to the post-BMT group. Finally, 14 of the 32 IFN-alpha-treated CML displayed cytogenetic evolution already during the chronic phase; again a higher incidence than in the untreated, Bu and Hy groups (P < 0.001) but not different from the post-BMT group. These findings strongly indicate that IFN-alpha, directly or indirectly, can induce clones with aberrant chromosomal evolution patterns to evolve and proliferate, but the mechanisms underlying these cytogenetic peculiarities remain to be elucidated.


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  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1138
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Publication categoryResearch