Clonal eosinophils are a morphologic hallmark of ETV6/ABL1 positive acute myeloid leukemia

Roberta La Starza, Maurizio Trubia, Nicoletta Testoni, Emanuela Ottaviani, Elena Belloni, Barbara Crescenzi, Massimo F. Martelli, Georges Flandrin, Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, Cristina Mecucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives. The ETV6 gene undergoes rearrangements with tyrosine kinases in hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. ETV6/ABL1 chimeric proteins have been detected both in lymphoid and myeloid disorders. Our objective was to study two new cases of ETV6/ABL1-positive acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and to focus on bone marrow morphology and on molecular cytogenetics of eosinophilic cells. Design and Methods. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed in two AML cases with different translocations, i.e. t(8;12)(p21;p13) and t(9;12) (q34; p13). We used probes for the short arm of chromosome 12, for ABL1 and BCR, for centromeric regions, and for whole chromosome arms. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was carried out by applying primers selected for the ETV6 gene. Results. In both cases, bone marrow morphology was characterized by trilineage dysplasia and increased abnormal eosinophils. FISH showed the 5′ETV6 translocated to chromosome 8 in patient #1, and to chromosome 9 in patient #2. A 3′ PCR identified chimeric products resulting from fusion between ETV6 exon 4 or exon 5, and ABL1 exon 2. Accordingly, an ETV6/ABL1 fusion signal was detected on der(8) in patient #1, and on der(9) in patient #2. Using interphase FISH abnormal bone marrow eosinophils were proved to belong to the neoplastic clone, carrying the ETV6 rearrangement. Interpretation and Conclusions. Our findings provide new information on the heterogeneity of conventional cytogenetics in ETV6/ABL1 positive leukemias, and indicate the putative target cell in this AML is an immature precursor capable of terminally differentiating towards eosinophils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-794
Number of pages6
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • ETV6/ABL1 rearrangement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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