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Nature Genetics DOI:

MLL translocations specify a distinct gene expression profile that distinguishes a unique leukemia

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsArmstrong, SA, Staunton, JE, Silverman, LB, Pieters, R, den Boer, ML, Minden, MD, Sallan, SE, Lander, ES, Golub, TR, Korsmeyer, SJ
JournalNature Genetics
Pages41 - 7
Date Published2002/01//
ISBN Number1061-4036
KeywordsAcute Disease, Cancer, Cell Lineage, DNA-Binding Proteins, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Genes, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Homeobox, Homeodomain Proteins, Humans, Immunophenotyping, Leukemia, Leukemic, Myeloid, Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Pr

Acute lymphoblastic leukemias carrying a chromosomal translocation involving the mixed-lineage leukemia gene (MLL, ALL1, HRX) have a particularly poor prognosis. Here we show that they have a characteristic, highly distinct gene expression profile that is consistent with an early hematopoietic progenitor expressing select multilineage markers and individual HOX genes. Clustering algorithms reveal that lymphoblastic leukemias with MLL translocations can clearly be separated from conventional acute lymphoblastic and acute myelogenous leukemias. We propose that they constitute a distinct disease, denoted here as MLL, and show that the differences in gene expression are robust enough to classify leukemias correctly as MLL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia. Establishing that MLL is a unique entity is critical, as it mandates the examination of selectively expressed genes for urgently needed molecular targets.