Analysis of KRAS and NRAS Gene Mutations in Arab Asian Children With Acute Leukemia: High Frequency of RAS Mutations in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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KRAS and NRAS gene mutations are frequently observed in childhood leukemia. The objective of this study was to determine the frequency of RAS mutations and the association between RAS mutations and other genetic aberrations in Arab Asian children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML).


Diagnostic samples of 485 patients (<18 years) with acute leukemia from Iraq and Jordan were obtained, using Flinders Technology Associates filter papers. Polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing were performed in Japan.


RAS mutations were detected in 86/318 (27%) of ALL cases and 35/167 (21%) of AML cases. The frequency of NRAS mutation was similar to that of KRAS mutation in ALL. Two RAS mutations were detected in nine patients. Among 264 Iraqi patients with ALL, RAS mutation was significantly associated with lower initial white blood cell count. Of 57 patients with chimeric transcripts, only two patients with either TEL-AML1 or E2A-PBX1 had KRAS mutation. The frequency of NRAS mutation was four times higher than that of KRAS mutation in AML. FAB-M4 and M5 subsets were associated with RAS mutation. Among 134 Iraqi patients with AML, 18 patients had RAS mutations and other genetic aberrations. In particular, 9 of 25 (36%) with MLL-rearrangement had RAS mutations.


The prevalence of oncogenic RAS mutations was higher among Arab Asian children than in other countries. RAS mutations in AML were found to coexist with other genetic aberrations, particularly MLL rearrangement. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2015; 9999:XX–XX © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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