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Abstract

Cytogenetic analyses of pretreatment bone marrows were performed at local institutions as part of Childrens Cancer Group (CCG) protocol CCG- 107 for infants less than 1 year of age with previously untreated acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Cytogenetic analyses from 39 patients (17 males and 22 females) were accepted after review. Several unique cytogenetic features were observed. Twelve patients (31%) had a t(4;11)(q21;q23) and had a significantly shorter event-free survival (EFS) than did the other patients with adequate cytogenetic analyses (P = .009). Five additional patients had an 11q23 breakpoint, not associated with 4q21. When EFS for these 5 patients was compared with that of the t(4;11) patients, even with these small numbers there was a strong, although not significant, suggestion that the t(4;11) patients have a reduced EFS (P = .09), indicating that the specific translocation, t(4;11)(q21;q23), and not an 11q23 breakpoint per se, may be associated with the poor prognosis of these infants. Structural abnormalities were present in 27 of 28 patients with abnormal karyotypes. A new recurring abnormality, t(5;15)(p15:1;q11) or t(5;15)(p15.3;q13), was identified in 3 patients (Arthur et al, Blood 70:274a, 1987 [abstr, suppl 1]). Two females had structural abnormalities involving Xp11, a breakpoint rarely seen in ALL. Fourteen (36%) patients had a single structural abnormality, and 13 (33%) had complex karyotypes. No patients had hyperdiploidy with more than 50 chromosomes. Only normal chromosomes were observed in 11 patients (28%), and their outcome did not differ from patients with abnormal karyotypes. These cytogenetic abnormalities found in the leukemic cells of infants are clearly different from those in older children and adults, and may explain, in part, the unique biologic characteristics of infant ALL.