This study of children and adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the largest series of patients with hypodiploidy (<46 chromosomes) yet reported. The incidence of 5% was independent of age. Patients were subdivided by the number of chromosomes; near-haploidy (23-29 chromosomes), low hypodiploidy (33-39 chromosomes) and high hypodiploidy (42-45 chromosomes). The near-haploid and low hypodiploid groups were characterized by their chromosomal gains and a doubled hyperdiploid population. Structural abnormalities were more frequent in the low hypodiploid group. Near-haploidy was restricted to children of median age 7 years (range 2-15) whereas low hypodiploidy occurred in an older group of median age 15 years (range 9-54). Patients with 42-45 chromosomes were characterized by complex karyotypes involving chromosomes 7, 9 and 12. The features shared by the few patients with 42-44 chromosomes and the large number with 45 justified their inclusion in the same group. Survival analysis showed a poor outcome for the near-haploid and low hypodiploid groups compared to those with 42-45 chromosomes. Thus cytogenetics, or at least a clear definition of the modal chromosome number, is essential at diagnosis in order to stratify patients with hypodiploidy into the appropriate risk group for treatment.
- Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
- Event free survival
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