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Med Hypotheses, 71(1), 126–140

Defining the steps that lead to cancer: replicative telomere erosion,aneuploidy and an epigenetic maturation arrest of tissue stem cells.

Reinhard Stindl

Recently, an influential sequencing study found that more than 1700 genes had non-silent mutations in either a breast or colorectal cancer, out of just 11 breast and 11 colorectal tumor samples. This is not surprising given the fact that genomic instability is the hallmark of cancer cells. The plethora of genomic alterations found in every carcinoma does not obey the 'law of genotype-phenotype correlation', since the same histological subtype of cancer harbors different gene mutations and chromosomal aberrations in every patient. In an attempt to make sense out of the observed genetic and chromosomal chaos in cancer, I propose a cascade model. According to this model, tissue regeneration depends on the proliferation and serial activation of stem cells. Replicative telomere erosion limits the proliferative life span of adult stem cells and results in the Hayflick limit (M1). However, local tissue exhaustion or old age might promote the activation of M1-deficient tissue stem cells. Extended proliferation of these cells leads to telomere-driven chromosomal instability and aneuploidy (abnormal balance of chromosomes and/or chromosome material). Several of the aforementioned steps have been already described in the literature. However, in contrast to common theories, it is proposed here that the genomic damage blocks the epigenetic differentiation switch. As a result of aneuploidy, differentiation-specific genes cannot be activated by modification of methylation patterns. Consequently, the phenotype of cancer tissue is largely determined by the epigenetic maturation arrest of tissue stem cells, which in addition enables a fraction of cancer cells to proliferate, invade and metastasize, as normal adult stem cells do. The new model combines genetic and epigenetic alterations of cancer cells in one causative cascade and offers an explanation for why identical histologic cancer types harbor a confusing variety of chromosomal and gene aberrations. The Viennese Cascade, as presented here, may end the debate on if and how 'tumor-unspecific' aneuploidy leads to cancer.

Cytogenet. Genome Res., 121, 79- 87

Elevated chromosome translocation frequencies in New Zealand nuclear test veterans.

M.A. Wahab, E.M. Nickless, R. Najar-M'Kacher, C. Parmentier, J.V. Podd, R.E. Rowland

In 1957/58 the British Government conducted a series of nuclear tests in the mid-Pacific codenamed Operation Grapple, which involved several naval vessels from Britain and New Zealand. Two New Zealand frigates with 551 personnel onboard were stationed at various distances between 20 and 150 nautical miles from ground zero. In the present study we applied the cytomolecular technique mFISH (multicolour fluorescent in situ hybridisation) to investigate a potential link between chromosome abnormalities and possible past radiation exposure in New Zealand nuclear test veterans who participated in Operation Grapple. Compared to age matched controls, the veterans showed significantly higher (P < 0.0001) frequencies of chromosomal abnormalities (275 translocations and 12 dicentrics in 9,360 cells vs. 96 translocations and 1 dicentric in 9,548 cells in the controls), in addition to a significant excess of CCRs (complex chromosomal rearrangements) in the veterans. A Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test showed that the distributions of translocations for the two groups were significantly different.

Cancer Genet Cytogenet., 175, 159- 165

Detailed characterization of 7q deletions by multicolor banding (mBAND) in marginal zone cell lymphoma.

S. Gazzo, I. Chudoba, A. Traverse-Glehen, L. Baseggio, P. Felman, F. Berger, G. Salles, S. Hayette, J.-P. Magaud, E. Callet-Bauchu

<p>High-resolution multicolor banding (mBAND) analysis was applied to precisely fine-map the genomic extent of 7q deletions in a series of 26 marginal zone lymphoma patients displaying the abnormality on conventional karyotypes. Using this approach, the breakpoints and the extent of deletions revealed by conventional banding techniques had to be re-defined in 70% of cases. Although no common minimal region of deletion was delineated, mBAND demonstrated the involvement of the 7q32 region in more than 90% of cases. In addition, unsuspected translocations and intrachromosomal changes could be identified in four cases. Taken together, these data demonstrate that mBAND represents an alternative cytogenetic tool in the comprehensive analysis of chromosome aberrations in hematologic malignancies, allowing rapid screening and precise delineation of structural rearrangements of a defined chromosome. This also confirms the localization in the vicinity of band 7q32 of putative candidate gene(s) involved in the pathogenic development of the disease.</p>

Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 173(1), 10-6

Structural aberrations of chromosome 7 revealed by a combination of molecular cytogenetic techniques in myeloid malignancies

J Brezinov{\'a}, Z Zemanov{\'a}, S Ransdorfov{\'a}, L Pavlistov{\'a}, L Babick{\'a}, L Houskov{\'a}, J Melicherc{\'i}kov{\'a}, M Siskov{\'a}, J Cerm{\'a}k, K Michalov{\'a}

In bone marrow cells of 33 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia, structural rearrangements of chromosome 7 were found with conventional G-banding: 8 with deletions 7q and 25 with translocations. In 29 of the patients, complex karyotypes were confirmed using multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (mFISH). Commercial probes (Abbot Molecular) were used for 7q22, 7q31, and 7q35, the regions most frequently deleted in myeloid malignancies. In three cases without deletions, high-resolution multicolor banding (mBAND) for chromosome 7 revealed other aberrations. Five groups of chromosomal rearrangements were established: (a) deletion 7q as a sole aberration (2 cases), (b) deletion 7q and complex karyotypes (6 cases), (c) combined translocations and deletions of 7q (17 cases), (d) combined translocation and deletion 7p (5 cases), and (e) translocation of chromosomes 7 without deletion 7p or 7q (3 cases). Deletions of all three FISH-screened regions were the most frequent, with heterogeneous breakpoints. The region 7p13.2 approximately p15.2 was most commonly deleted. Most of the deletions were cryptic, not detectable with conventional cytogenetics. Aberrations of chromosome 7 are associated with a very poor outcome; survival time in our cohort was short (median 7 months).

Leukemia Research, 31, 39- 47

Analysis of complex chromosomal rearrangements in adult patients with MDS and AML by multicolor FISH.

L. Babicka, S. Ransdorfova, J. Brezinova, Z. Zemanova, L. Sindelarova, M. Siskova, J. Maaloufova, J. Cermak, K. Michalova

We analyzed complex chromosomal aberrations in 37 adult patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) using classical cytogenetic method, FISH with locus-specific probes, multicolor FISH (mFISH) and multicolor banding (mBAND). Unbalanced structural aberrations, leading to a gain or loss of chromosomal material, were frequently observed in bone marrow cells. In 30 patients (81.1%) loss or rearrangement of chromosome 5, 7 and/or 11 was found. The most frequent numerical change was trisomy 8 as expected (detected in six patients-16.2%) and the most frequent breakpoints 5q13, 5q33, 7q31, 10p12, 11q23, 12p13, 17p11 and 21q22 were determined.

Int J Med Sci, 3, 124- 129

Low temperature tolerance of human embryonic stem cells.

B.C. Heng, K.J. Vinoth, H. Liu, M.P. Hande, T. Cao

This study investigated the effects of exposing human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to 4oC and 25oC for extended durations of 24h and 48h respectively. Cell survivability after low temperature exposure was assessed through the MTT assay. The results showed that hESC survivability after exposure to 25oC and 4oC for 24h was 77.3 ± 4.8 % and 64.4 ± 4.4 % respectively (significantly different, P < 0.05). The corresponding survival rates after 48h exposure to 25oC and 4oC was 71.0 ± 0.5 % and 69.0 ± 2.3 % respectively (not significantly different, P > 0.05). Spontaneous differentiation of hESC after low temperature exposure was assessed by morphological observations under bright-field and phase-contrast microscopy, and by immunocytochemical staining for the pluripotency markers SSEA-3 and TRA-1-81. hESC colonies were assigned into 3 grades according to their degree of spontaneous differentiation: (1) Grade A which was completely or mostly undifferentiated, (2) Grade B which was partially differentiated, and (3) Grade C which was mostly differentiated. In all low temperature exposed groups, about 95% of colonies remain undifferentiated (Grade A), which was not significantly different (P > 0.05) from the unexposed control group maintained at 37oC. Additionally, normal karyotype was maintained in all low temperature-exposed groups, as assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of metaphase spreads with telomere and centromere-specific PNA probes. Further analysis with m-FISH showed that chromosomal translocations were absent in all experimental groups. Hence, hESC possess relatively high-tolerance to extended durations of low temperature exposure, which could have useful implications for the salvage of hESC culture during infrequent occurrences of incubator break-down and power failure.

Int. J. Molecular Medicine, 17, 209- 213

Molecular cytogenetic characterization of the mouse cell line WMP2 by spectral karyotyping and multicolor banding applying murine probes.

C. Karst, V. Trifonov, S.A. Romanenko, U. Claussen, K. Mrasek, S. Michel, P. Avner, T. Liehr

The Moloney murine leukemia virus-transformed suspension cell line WMP2 is derived from wild mice (Mus musculus) of the WMP/WMP strain. These mice carry nine pairs of metacentric Robertsonian translocation chromosomes. As the chromosomes of the wild-type mouse are all acrocentric, metaphase spreads of the WMP2 cells seam to be highly suited for physical gene mapping. Here we studied the WMP2 line using spectral karyotyping (SKY) combined with new established mouse specific multicolor banding (mcb) probes for the chromosomes X, 3, 4, 6 and 18. SKY revealed that the WMP2 cell line developed further four derivative chromosomes. After application of mcb five previously unrecognizable intrachromosomal rearrangements with 9 breakpoints were detected for the studied chromosomes.

Chromosoma, 115, 459- 467

The breakage-fusion-bridge (BFB) cycle as a mechanism for generating genetic heterogeneity in osteosarcoma.

S. Selvarajah, M. Yoshimoto, P.C. Park, G. Maire, J. Paderova, J. Bayani, G. Lim, K. Al-Romaih, J.A. Squire, M. Zielenska

Osteosarcoma (OS) is characterized by chromosomal instability and high copy number gene amplification. The breakage–fusion–bridge (BFB) cycle is a well-established mechanism of genome instability in tumors and in vitro models used to study the origins of complex chromosomal rearrangements and cancer genome amplification. To determine whether the BFB cycle could be increasing the de novo rate of formation of cytogenetic aberrations in OS, the frequency of anaphase bridge configurations and dicentric chromosomes in four OS cell lines was quantified. An increased level of anaphase bridges and dicentrics was observed in all the OS cell lines. There was also a strong association between the frequencies of anaphase bridges, dicentrics, centrosomal anomalies, and multipolar mitotic figures in all the OS cell lines, indicating a possible link in the mechanisms that led to the structural and numerical instabilities observed in OS. In summary, this study has provided strong support for the role of the BFB cycle in generating the extensive structural chromosome aberrations, as well as cell-to-cell cytogenetic variation observed in OS, thus conferring the genetic diversity for OS tumor progression.

Radiat Environ Biophys, 44(3), 219–224
December, 2005

Space radiation does not induce a significant increase of intrachromosomalexchanges in astronauts' lymphocytes.

M. Horstmann, M. Durante, C. Johannes, R. Pieper, G. Obe

Chromosome aberration analysis in astronauts has been used to provide direct, biologically motivated estimates of equivalent doses and risk associated to cosmic radiation exposure during space flight. However, the past studies concentrated on measurements of dicentrics and translocations, while chromosome intrachanges (inversions) have never been measured in astronauts' samples. Recent data reported in the literature suggest that densely ionizing radiation can induce a large fraction of intrachanges, thus leading to the suspicion that interchanges grossly underestimate the cosmic radiation-induced cytogenetic damage in astronauts. We have analyzed peripheral blood lymphocytes from 11 astronauts involved in short- or long-term space flights in low-Earth orbit using high-resolution multicolor banding to assess the frequency of intrachromosomal exchanges in both pre- and post-flight samples. We did not detect any inversions in chromosome 5 from a total of 2800 cells in astronauts' blood. In addition, no complex type exchanges were found in a total of 3590 astronauts' lymphocytes analyzed by multifluor fluorescence in situ hybridisation. We conclude that, within the statistical power of this study, the analysis of interchanges for biological dosimetry in astronauts does not significantly underestimate the space radiation-induced cytogenetic damage, and complex-type exchanges or intrachanges have limited practical use for biodosimetry at very low doses.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer, 44, 1- 9

Complex chromosome aberrations persist in individuals many years after occupational exposure to densely ionizing radiation: an mFISH study

M Prakash Hande, TV Azizova, LF Burak, VF Khokhryakov, CR Geard, DJ Brenner

Long-lived, sensitive, and specific biomarkers of particular mutagenic agents are much sought after and potentially have broad applications in the fields of cancer biology, epidemiology, and prevention. Many clastogens induce a spectrum of chromosome aberrations, and some of them can be exploited as biomarkers of exposure. Densely ionizing radiation, for example, alpha particle radiation (from radon or plutonium) and neutron radiation, preferentially induces complex chromosome aberrations, which can be detected by the 24-color multifluor fluorescence in situ hybridization (mFISH) technique. We report the detection and quantification of stable complex chromosome aberrations in lymphocytes of healthy former nuclear-weapons workers, who were exposed many years ago to plutonium, gamma rays, or both, at the Mayak weapons complex in Russia. We analyzed peripheral-blood lymphocytes from these individuals for the presence of persistent complex chromosome aberrations. A significantly elevated frequency of complex chromosome translocations was detected in the highly exposed plutonium workers but not in the group exposed only to high doses of gamma radiation. No such differences were found for simple chromosomal aberrations. The results suggest that stable complex chromosomal translocations represent a long-lived, quantitative, low-background biomarker of densely ionizing radiation for human populations exposed many years ago.

Advances in Space Research, 35, 276- 279

Chromosomal intrachanges induced by swift iron ions

M. Horstmann, M. Durante, C. Johannes, G. Obe

<p>Genomic fingerprints of mutagenic agents would have wide applications in the field of cancer biology, epidemiology and prevention. The differential spectra of chromosomal aberrations induced by different clastogens suggest that ratios of specific aberrations can be exploited as biomarkers of carcinogen exposure. We have tested this hypothesis using the novel technique of multicolor banding in situ hybridization (mBAND) in human peripheral blood lymphocytes exposed in vitro to X rays, neutrons, heavy ions, or the restriction endonuclease AluI. In the heavy-ion-irradiated cells, we further analyzed aberrations in chromosome 5 using multicolor FISH (mFISH). Contrary to the expectations of biophysical models, our results do not support the use of the ratios of inter-/intrachromosomal exchanges or intra-/interarm intrachanges as fingerprints of exposure to densely ionizing radiation. However, our data point to measurable differences in the ratio of complex/simple interchanges after exposure to different clastogens. These data should be considered in current biophysical models of radiation action in living cells.</p>

Cellular Oncology, 27, 293- 318

The chromosomal basis of cancer.

P. Duesberg, R. Li, A. Fabarius, R. Hehlmann

Conventional genetic theories have failed to explain why cancer (1) is not heritable and thus extremely rare in newborns, (2) is caused by non-mutagenic carcinogens, (3) develops only years to decades after initiation by carcinogens, (4) follows pre-neoplastic aneuploidy, (5) is aneuploid, (6) is chromosomally and phenotypically "unstable", (7) carries specific aneusomies, (8) generates much more complex phenotypes than conventional mutation such as multidrug resistance, (9) generates nonselective phenotypes such as metastasis (no benefit at native site) and "immortality" (not necessary for tumorigenesis), and (10) does not contain carcinogenic mutations. We propose, instead, that cancer is a chromosomal disease. Accordingly carcinogenesis is initiated by random aneuploidies, which are induced by carcinogens or spontaneously. Since aneuploidy unbalances 1000s of genes, it corrupts teams of proteins that segregate, synthesize and repair chromosomes. Aneuploidy is therefore a steady source of chromosomal variations from which, in classical Darwinian terms, selection encourages the evolution and malignant progression of cancer cells. The rates of specific chromosomal variations can exceed conventional mutations by 4-11 orders of magnitude, depending on the degrees of aneuploidy. Based on their chromosomal constitution cancer cells are new cell "species" with specific aneusomies, but unstable karyotypes. The cancer-specific aneusomies generate complex, malignant phenotypes through the abnormal dosages of 1000s of genes, just as trisomy 21 generates Down syndrome. In sum, cancer is caused by chromosomal disorganization, which increases karyotypic entropy. Thus, cancer is a chromosomal rather than a genetic disease. The chromosomal theory explains (1) non-heritable cancer because aneuploidy is not heritable, (2) non-mutagenic carcinogens as aneuploidogens, (3) long neoplastic latencies by the low probability of evolving new species, (4) nonselective phenotypes via genes hitchhiking with selective chromosomes, and (5) immortality because, through their cellular heterogeneity, cancers survive negative mutations and cytotoxic drugs via resistant subspecies.

British Journal of Cancer, 92, 382- 388

Multicolour-banding fluorescence in situ hybridization (mbanding-FISH) to identify recurrent chromosomal alterations in breast tumour cell lines.

A. Letessier, M.-J. Mozziconacci, A. Murati, J. Juriens, J. Adelaide, D. Birnbaum, M. Chaffanet

<p>Recurrent chromosome breakpoints in tumour cells may point to cancer genes, but not many have been molecularly characterised. We have used multicolour-banding fluorescence in situ hybridisation (mbanding-FISH) on breast tumour cell lines to identify regions of chromosome break created by inversions, duplications, insertions and translocations on chromosomes 1, 5, 8, 12 and 17. We delineate a total of 136 regions of break, some of them occurring with high frequency. We further describe two examples of dual-colour FISH characterisation of breakpoints, which target the 1p36 and 5p11-12 regions. Both breaks involve genes whose function is unknown to date. The mbanding-FISH strategy constitutes an efficient first step in the search for potential cancer genes.</p>

Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 163, 44- 56

Chromosomal alterations cause the high rates and wide ranges of drug resistance in cancer cells.

R. Li, R. Hehlman, R. Sachs, P. Duesberg

Conventional mutation-selection theories have failed to explain (i) how cancer cells become spontaneously resistant against cytotoxic drugs at rates of up to 10(-3) per cell generation, orders higher than gene mutation, even in cancer cells; (ii) why resistance far exceeds a challenging drug-a state termed multidrug resistance; (iii) why resistance is associated with chromosomal alterations and proportional to their numbers; and (iv) why resistance is totally dependent on aneuploidy. We propose here that cancer-specific aneuploidy generates drug resistance via chromosomal alterations. According to this mechanism, aneuploidy varies the numbers and structures of chromosomes automatically, because it corrupts the many teams of proteins that segregate, synthesize, and repair chromosomes. Aneuploidy is thus a steady source of chromosomal variation from which, in classical Darwinian terms, resistance-specific aneusomies are selected in the presence of chemotherapeutic drugs. Some of the thousands of unselected genes that hitchhike with resistance-specific aneusomies can thus generate multidrug resistance. To test this hypothesis, we determined the rates of chromosomal alterations in clonal cultures of human breast and colon cancer lines by dividing the fraction of nonclonal karyotypes by the number of generations of the clone. These rates were about 10(-2) per cell generation, orders higher than mutation. Chromosome numbers and structures were determined in metaphases hybridized with color-coded chromosome-specific DNA probes. Further, we tested puromycin-resistant subclones of these lines for resistance-specific aneusomies. Resistant subclones differed from parental lines in four to seven specific aneusomies, of which different subclones shared some. The degree of resistance was roughly proportional to the number of these aneusomies. Thus, aneuploidy is the primary cause of the high rates and wide ranges of drug resistance in cancer cells.

Cytogenetic and Genomic Research, 108, 217- 222

New insights into the evolution of chromosome 1.

A. Weise, H. Starke, K. Mrasek, U. Claussen, T. Liehr

A complex low-repetitive human DNA probe (BAC RP11-35B4) together with two microdissection-derived region-specific probes of the multicolor banding (MCB) probe-set for chromosome 1 were used to re-analyze the evolution of human chromosome 1 in comparison to four ape species. BAC RP11-35B4 derives from 1q21 and contains 143 kb of non-repetitive DNA; however, it produces three specific FISH signals in 1q21, 1p12 and 1p36.1 of Homo sapiens (HSA). Human chromosome 1 was studied in comparison to its homologues in Hylobates lar (HLA), Pongo pygmaeus (PPY), Gorilla gorilla (GGO) and Pan troglodytes (PTR). A duplication of sequences homologous to human 1p36.1 could be detected in PPY plus an additional signal on PPY 16q. The region homologous to HSA 1p36.1 is also duplicated in HLA, and split onto chromosomes 7q and 9p; the region homologous to HSA 1q21/1p12 is present as one region on 5q. Additionally, the breakpoint of a small pericentric inversion in the evolution of human chromosome 1 compared to other great ape species could be refined. In summary, the results obtained here are in concordance with previous reports; however, there is evidence for a deletion of regions homologous to human 1p34.2-->p34.1 during evolution in the Pongidae branch after separation of PPY.

Leukemia Research, 29, 273- 281

Prognostic value of structural chromosomal rearrangements and small cell clones with high hyperdiploidy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Z. Zemanova, K. Michalova, L. Sindelarova, P. Smisek, J. Brezinova, S. Ransdorfova, V. Vavra, A. Dohnalova, J. Stary

In this study, 107 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were analysed for the presence of hyperdiploidy by cytogenetics and interphase fluorescence in situ hybridisation (I-FISH). Structural aberrations in hyperdiploid cells were investigated by multiple colour FISH (mFISH). Clones with high hyperdiploidy (>50 chromosomes) (HeH) were found in 46 patients (43%). In nine of these (20%), the abnormal clone was present in <20% of the total cell population. There was no significant difference in EFS between those patients with HeH in 2.5-20% or >20% of cells. Structural rearrangements in the HeH clone were found in 10 patients (22%). In this study, HeH karyotypes containing structural aberrations were an indication of a poor prognosis in childhood ALL.

Oncogene, 23(45), 7507–7516
September, 2004

Tumor necrosis factor alpha induces senescence and chromosomal instabilityin human leukemic cells.

Odile Beyne-Rauzy, Christian Recher, Nicole Dastugue, Cécile Demur, Géraldine Pottier, Guy Laurent, Laure Sabatier, Véronique Mansat-De Mas

Previous studies have documented that Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) is a potent negative regulator of normal hematopoiesis. However, the mechanism by which TNFalpha acts at the cellular level is not totally understood. Although apoptotic cell killing appears to be the most common cellular effect of TNFalpha, other studies suggest that this cytokine may elicit other cellular responses such as prolonged growth inhibition. In this context, we have investigated whether TNFalpha may induce senescence in hematopoietic cells, which display intrinsic defect in the apoptotic machinery. The present study described that, in the leukemic KG1 cells, TNFalpha induced no apoptosis but a senescence state characterized by prolonged growth arrest, increased beta-galactosidase activity, p21WAF-1 induction, decreased telomerase activity, telomeric disturbances (shortening, losses, fusions), and additional chromosomal aberrations. Telomerase inhibition correlated with reduced levels of hTERT transcripts. GM-CSF prevented TNFalpha effects and allowed leukemic cells to recover growth capacity. Finally, our study shows for the first time that, at least in some hematopoietic cells, TNFalpha may induce senescence with important functional consequences, including sustained growth inhibition and genetic instability, and that this cellular response is efficiently regulated by hematopoietic growth factors.

Cytogenet Genome Res, 104, 390- 393

mBAND: a high resolution multicolor banding technique for the detection of complex intrachromosomal aberrations

I. Chudoba, G. Hickmann, T. Friedrich, A. Jauch, P. Kozlowski, G. Senger

Precise breakpoint definition of chromosomal rearrangements using conventional banding techniques often fails, especially when more than two breakpoints are involved. The classic banding procedure results in a pattern of alternating light and dark bands. Hence, in banded chromosomes a specific chromosomal band is rather identified by the surrounding banding pattern than by its own specific morphology. In chromosomal rearrangements the original pattern is altered and therefore the unequivocal determination of breakpoints is not obvious. The multicolor banding technique (mBAND, see Chudoba et al., 1999) is able to identify breakpoints unambiguously, even in highly complex chromosomal aberrations. The mBAND technique is presented and illustrated in a case of intrachromosomal rearrangement with seven breakpoints all having occurred on one chromosome 16, emphasizing the unique analyzing power of mBAND as compared to conventional banding techniques.

Leukemia Research, 28, 1013- 1021

Dynamics of telomere erosion and its association with genome instability in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia arising from MDS: a marker of disease prognosis?

Z. Sieglová, S. Zilovcová, J. Cermák, H. Ríhová, D. Brezinová, R. Dvoráková, M. Marková, J. Maaloufová, J. Sajdová, J. Brezinová, Z. Zemanová, K. Michalová

Telomere length was evaluated by terminal repeat fragment method (TRF) in 50 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) arising from MDS and in 21 patients with untreated primary AML to ascertain, whether telomere erosion was associated with progression of MDS towards overt leukemia. Heterogeneity of TRF among MDS FAB subgroups (P=0.004) originated from its shortening in increased number of patients during progression of the disease. Chromosomal aberrations were present in 32% MDS patients with more eroded telomeres (P=0.022), nevertheless a difference between mean TRF in the subgroups with normal and abnormal karyotype diminished during progression of MDS. A negative correlation between individual TRF and IPSS value (P=0.039) showed that telomere dynamics might serve as a useful prognostic factor for assessment of an individual MDS patient’s risk and for decision of an optimal treatment strategy.

Chromosome Research, 12, 239- 244

Molecular-cytogenetic characterization of the origin and the presence of pericentromeric euchromatin on minute supernumerary marker chromosomes (SMCs)

T. Liehr, G. Hickmann, P. Kozlowski, U. Claussen, H. Starke

Small supernumerary marker chromosomes (SMCs) in human can be defined as additional centric chromosome fragments smaller than chromosome 20. For most small or minute SMCs a correlation with clinical symptoms is lacking, mostly due to problems in visualizing their euchromatic content. Recently we described two new molecular cytogenetic approaches for the comprehensive characterization of small SMCs, excluding those few cases with neo-centromeres. Minute SMCs, consisting preferentially of alpha-satellite DNA, are characterizable in one step by the centromere-specific multicolor FISH (cenM-FISH) approach. For further characterization of minute SMCs and eventually present euchromatic content, the recently developed centromere-near-specific multicolor FISH (subcenM-FISH) technique can be applied. These two approaches are highly informative and easy to perform, as demonstrated in the present report on the example of a prenatal case with a minute SMC derived from chromosome 3 cytogenetically described as min(3)(:p12.1→q11.2:).