Chromosome Abnormalities in Leukemia

Last Modified: September 24, 2006

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My son-in-law was recently diagnosed with leukemia. He is at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC because he is serving in the U.S. Army. He and my daughter were told that he has an "inverted 16th chromosome". Where can I find additional information on this?


Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:

You probably won't find much unless you look in specialty medical journals. Inverted chromosome 16 is the genetic abnormality associated with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) type M4. The presence of this inversion on the 16 th chromosome is just one of the ways they classify the AML type as M4. Researchers believe that something happens in the body to cause the chromosome to change, which then leads to the development of the leukemia. There is the hope that having this information can help develop better therapies for treating the disease. For example, in the case of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), the genetic abnormality is the (9;22) translocation, which is the target of the drug Gleevec. So far, this is the only one of the leukemias with a successful targeted therapy.

Chromosomal Abnormalities Signal CNS Involvement in AML

Dec 29, 2011 - Cytogenetic analysis at the time of diagnosis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) shows higher rates of chromosomal abnormalities for patients with central nervous system (CNS) involvement than for those with no CNS involvement, and survival is typically poor for patients with AML and CNS disease, according to a study published in the Jan. 1 issue of Cancer.

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