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Abstract

An identical reciprocal translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 3 and 21 with breakpoints in bands 3q26 and 21q22, t(3;21)(q26;q22), was found in three male patients with the blast phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The abnormality was clonal in all three patients and was always accompanied by either a standard or variant 9;22 translocation resulting in a Philadelphia chromosome (Ph1). In two cases, the t(3;21) was the only abnormality other than a t(9;22) in the primary clone. Serial studies of one patient demonstrated that the t(3;21) occurred as a result of clonal evolution near the time of development of the blast phase. We have not observed the t(3;21) in greater than 500 patients with CML in the chronic phase. Thus, the t(3;21) is a new recurring cytogenetic abnormality associated with the blast phase of CML.