Array comparative genomic hybridization and cytogenetic analysis in pediatric acute leukemias
Most patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (all) are reported to have acquired chromosomal abnormalities in their leukemic bone marrow cells. Many established chromosome rearrangements have been described, and their associations with specific clinical, biologic, and prognostic features are well defined. However, approximately 30% of pediatric and 50% of adult patients with all do not have cytogenetic abnormalities of clinical significance. Despite significant improvements in outcome for pediatric all, therapy fails in approximately 25% of patients, and these failures often occur unpredictably in patients
with a favorable prognosis and “good” cytogenetics at diagnosis.
It is well known that karyotype analysis in hematologic malignancies, although genome-wide, is limited because of altered cell kinetics (mitotic rate), a propensity of leukemic blasts to undergo apoptosis in culture, overgrowth by normal cells, and chromosomes of poor quality in the abnormal clone. Array comparative genomic hybridization (acgh— “microarray”) has a greatly increased genomic resolution over classical cytogenetics. Cytogenetic microarray, which uses genomic dna, is a powerful tool in the analysis of unbalanced chromosome rearrangements, such as copy number gains and losses, and it is the method of choice when the mitotic index is low and the quality of metaphases is suboptimal. The copy number profile obtained by microarray is often called a “molecular karyotype.”
In the present study, microarray was applied to 9 retrospective cases of pediatric all either with initial high-risk features or with at least 1 relapse. The conventional karyotype was compared to the “molecular karyotype” to assess abnormalities as interpreted by classical cytogenetics. Not only were previously undetected chromosome losses and gains identified by microarray, but several karyotypes interpreted by classical cytogenetics were shown to be discordant with the microarray results. The complementary use? of microarray and conventional cytogenetics would allow for more sensitive, comprehensive, and accurate analysis of the underlying genetic profile, with concomitant improvement in prognosis and treatment, not only for pediatric all, but for neoplastic disorders in general.