Analysis of common cytogenetic abnormalities in New Zealand pediatric ALL shows ethnically diverse carriage of ETV6-RUNX1, without a corresponding difference in survival

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Abstract

Background

The frequency of common cytogenetic abnormalities in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is known to vary by geographic location and ethnic origin. This study aimed to determine the frequency of hypodiploidy, ETV6-RUNX1, BCR-ABL1, and MLL rearrangement within New Zealand's pediatric ALL population and to assess whether the frequency of these ALL prognostic markers varies according to ethnicity.

Procedure

The New Zealand Children's Cancer Registry provided information for all registered pediatric ALL patients that were diagnosed between 2000 and 2009, with medical records available for 246 patients. Each patient's medical record was reviewed to determine the frequency of hypodiploidy, ETV6-RUNX1, BCR-ABL1, MLL rearrangement, and cell lineage. Chi-square tests for independence were undertaken to compare the frequencies of cytogenetic abnormalities according to prioritized ethnicity.

Results

The frequency of cytogenetic ALL abnormalities in the New Zealand pediatric population were consistent with international reference values. A low frequency of ETV6-RUNX1 was evident for Maori pediatric ALL patients (5.4%, P = 0.018), when compared to Pacific peoples (21.1%) and non-Maori/non-Pacific peoples (27.4%). This has not impacted on outcome, however, with equivalent 5-year overall survival being observed in Maori (89.4%) compared to Pacific peoples (92.0%) and non-Maori/non-Pacific peoples (90.2%).

Conclusions

A lower frequency of the favorable prognostic marker ETV6-RUNX1 was observed in Maori pediatric ALL patients. This did not translate into poorer survival. Future research into biological and nonbiological prognostic factors in this patient population may assist in explaining this finding.

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