Characteristics of patients with TEL-AML1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia with single or multiple fusions

Suleimman A. Al-Sweedan, Joseph P Neglia, Marie E Steiner, Bruce C. Bostrom, Timothy Casey, Betsy A Hirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. The TEL-AML1 fusion in precursor-B ALL is generated by a cryptic 12;21 translocation that is detectable by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). It is generally considered a favorable prognostic indicator. Some TEL-AML1+ ALL patients present at diagnosis with extra copies of the fusion, enumerated by FISH. The aim of the study was to determine whether additional copies of TEL-AML1 have clinical significance. Procedure. Charts of all TEL-AML1+ ALL patients at the UM and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota between 1996 and 2004 were reviewed. Results. Eight patients (7 males/1 female, mean age 46 months) with two or more TEL-AML1 fusion signals and 24 with single TEL-AML1 fusion signals (18 males/6 females, mean age 52 months) were identified. There was no statistically significant difference in age or gender between the two groups. Patients with double TEL-AML1+ had a higher frequency of myeloid markers CD13 (P = 0.04) or CD33 (P = 0.003) than single TEL-AML1+ patients. Single TEL-AML1+ patients had higher WBC (P = 0.04) than double TEL-AML1+ patients. A trend toward slower therapy response was seen in double TEL-AML1+ patients versus single, (1 of 7 [14%] <5% marrow blasts on Day 7 vs. 13 of 23 [56%], P = 0.09). Double TEL-AML1+ patients had a higher relapse rate (P = 0.09) than single TEL-AML1+ patients. Conclusions. Utilizing FISH to distinguish subgroups of TEL-AML1 fusion patients may have important prognostic implications. The presence of an extra fusion may portend poorer prognosis. A larger and longer-term follow-up study will be required to verify the possible clinical significance of the presence of multiple TEL-AML1 fusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-514
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • ALL
  • Molecular genetics
  • Outcome research


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