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author:("gazzaniga, G")
1.  An international study of intrachromosomal amplification of chromosome 21 (iAMP21): cytogenetic characterization and outcome 
Leukemia  2013;28(5):1015-1021.
Intrachromosomal amplification of chromosome 21 (iAMP21) defines a distinct cytogenetic subgroup of childhood B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (BCP-ALL). To date, fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), with probes specific for the RUNX1 gene, provides the only reliable detection method (five or more RUNX1 signals per cell). Patients with iAMP21 are older (median age 9 years) with a low white cell count. Previously, we demonstrated a high relapse risk when these patients were treated as standard risk. Recent studies have shown improved outcome on intensive therapy. In view of these treatment implications, accurate identification is essential. Here we have studied the cytogenetics and outcome of 530 iAMP21 patients that highlighted the association of specific secondary chromosomal and genetic changes with iAMP21 to assist in diagnosis, including the gain of chromosome X, loss or deletion of chromosome 7, ETV6 and RB1 deletions. These iAMP21 patients when treated as high risk showed the same improved outcome as those in trial-based studies regardless of the backbone chemotherapy regimen given. This study reinforces the importance of intensified treatment to reduce the risk of relapse in iAMP21 patients. This now well-defined patient subgroup should be recognised by World Health Organisation (WHO) as a distinct entity of BCP-ALL.
doi:10.1038/leu.2013.317
PMCID: PMC4283797  PMID: 24166298
iAMP21; genetics; outcome; poor prognosis; BCP-ALL; chromosomal abnormalities
2.  Mesenchymal stem cells from Shwachman–Diamond syndrome patients display normal functions and do not contribute to hematological defects 
Blood Cancer Journal  2012;2(10):e94-.
Shwachman–Diamond syndrome (SDS) is a rare inherited disorder characterized by bone marrow (BM) dysfunction and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. SDS patients have an increased risk for myelodisplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are the key component of the hematopoietic microenvironment and are relevant in inducing genetic mutations leading to leukemia. However, their role in SDS is still unexplored. We demonstrated that morphology, growth kinetics and expression of surface markers of MSCs from SDS patients (SDS-MSCs) were similar to normal MSCs. Moreover, SDS-MSCs were able to differentiate into mesengenic lineages and to inhibit the proliferation of mitogen-activated lymphocytes. We demonstrated in an in vitro coculture system that SDS-MSCs, significantly inhibited neutrophil apoptosis probably through interleukin-6 production. In a long-term coculture with CD34+-sorted cells, SDS-MSCs were able to sustain CD34+ cells survival and to preserve their stemness. Finally, SDS-MSCs had normal karyotype and did not show any chromosomal abnormality observed in the hematological components of the BM of SDS patients. Despite their pivotal role in the hematopoietic stem cell niche, our data suggest that MSC themselves do not seem to be responsible for the hematological defects typical of SDS patients.
doi:10.1038/bcj.2012.40
PMCID: PMC3483621  PMID: 23064742
Shwachman–Diamond syndrome; mesenchymal stem cells; bone marrow failure; SBDS
3.  Identification of germline susceptibility loci in ETV6-RUNX1-rearranged childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia 
Leukemia  2011;26(5):902-909.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a malignant disease of the white blood cells. The etiology of ALL is believed to be multifactorial and likely to involve an interplay of environmental and genetic variables. We performed a genome-wide association study of 355 750 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 474 controls and 419 childhood ALL cases characterized by a t(12;21)(p13;q22) — the most common chromosomal translocation observed in childhood ALL — which leads to an ETV6–RUNX1 gene fusion. The eight most strongly associated SNPs were followed-up in 951 ETV6-RUNX1-positive cases and 3061 controls from Germany/Austria and Italy, respectively. We identified a novel, genome-wide significant risk locus at 3q28 (TP63, rs17505102, PCMH=8.94 × 10−9, OR=0.65). The separate analysis of the combined German/Austrian sample only, revealed additional genome-wide significant associations at 11q11 (OR8U8, rs1945213, P=9.14 × 10−11, OR=0.69) and 8p21.3 (near INTS10, rs920590, P=6.12 × 10−9, OR=1.36). These associations and another association at 11p11.2 (PTPRJ, rs3942852, P=4.95 × 10−7, OR=0.72) remained significant in the German/Austrian replication panel after correction for multiple testing. Our findings demonstrate that germline genetic variation can specifically contribute to the risk of ETV6–RUNX1-positive childhood ALL. The identification of TP63 and PTPRJ as susceptibility genes emphasize the role of the TP53 gene family and the importance of proteins regulating cellular processes in connection with tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1038/leu.2011.302
PMCID: PMC3356560  PMID: 22076464
genome-wide association study; childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia; TP63
4.  The MLL recombinome of acute leukemias in 2013 
Leukemia  2013;27(11):2165-2176.
Chromosomal rearrangements of the human MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) gene are associated with high-risk infant, pediatric, adult and therapy-induced acute leukemias. We used long-distance inverse-polymerase chain reaction to characterize the chromosomal rearrangement of individual acute leukemia patients. We present data of the molecular characterization of 1590 MLL-rearranged biopsy samples obtained from acute leukemia patients. The precise localization of genomic breakpoints within the MLL gene and the involved translocation partner genes (TPGs) were determined and novel TPGs identified. All patients were classified according to their gender (852 females and 745 males), age at diagnosis (558 infant, 416 pediatric and 616 adult leukemia patients) and other clinical criteria. Combined data of our study and recently published data revealed a total of 121 different MLL rearrangements, of which 79 TPGs are now characterized at the molecular level. However, only seven rearrangements seem to be predominantly associated with illegitimate recombinations of the MLL gene (∼90%): AFF1/AF4, MLLT3/AF9, MLLT1/ENL, MLLT10/AF10, ELL, partial tandem duplications (MLL PTDs) and MLLT4/AF6, respectively. The MLL breakpoint distributions for all clinical relevant subtypes (gender, disease type, age at diagnosis, reciprocal, complex and therapy-induced translocations) are presented. Finally, we present the extending network of reciprocal MLL fusions deriving from complex rearrangements.
doi:10.1038/leu.2013.135
PMCID: PMC3826032  PMID: 23628958
MLL; chromosomal translocations; translocation partner genes; acute leukemia; ALL; AML

Results 1-4 (4)