Chromosome pattern, occupation, and clinical features in patients with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia

F. Mitelman, P. G. Nilsson, L. Brandt, G. Alimena, R. Gastaldi, B. Dallapiccola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Chromosome banding pattern of bone marrow cells, cell morphology according to the FAB classification, and clinical findings were compared in two groups of adult patients with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL): 52 patients occupationally exposed to chemical solvents, insecticides, or petrol products, and 110 patients with no history of occupational exposure to potential mutagenic/carcinogenic agents. Striking differences were found between the two groups: (1) Clonal chromosomal aberrations were present in 75% of exposed patients compared with only 32% in the nonexposed group. (2) Of the patients exposed to solvents and insecticides 92% had abnormal chromosomes, whereas only 29% of patients exposed to petrol products showed abnormalities; in the total material 10 13 exposed patients with normal chromosomes were exposed to petrol products. (3) The relationship between chromosomal abnormality and exposure was evident in both females and males. However, only 29% of women with an abnormal karyotype were exposed, whereas 70% of males with an abnormal karyotype were exposed. (4) The incidence of certain characteristic karyotypic abnormalities, i.e., -5 5q-, -7 7q-, +8, +21, t(8;21), and t(9;22), were decidedly more common in exposed than in nonexposed patients. At least one of these changes were present in 92% of exposed patients with aberrations, whereas in the nonexposed group the incidence was only 60%. (5) The monocytic varieties of ANLL (M4 + M5) were more common in the nonexposed patients, whereas erythroleukemia (M6) was more common in the exposed group. The predominance of abnormal karyotypes in the exposed compared to the nonexposed patients was similar in leukemia types M1 + M2 and in M4 + M5. (6) There was no difference in survival time between the two groups and the same correlation was obvious in both exposed and nonexposed patients: patients who had only abnormal metaphases had poorer prognosis than those with normal bone marrow metaphases only (6 vs 1.5 months). This correlation was obvious in patients classified as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as well as in the monocytic varieties of ANLL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-214
Number of pages18
JournalCancer Genetics and Cytogenetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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