Complex chromosomal rearrangements leading to MECOM overexpression are recurrent in myeloid malignancies with various 3q abnormalities

Carmen Baldazzi, Simona Luatti, Elisa Zuffa, Cristina Papayannidis, Emanuela Ottaviani, Giulia Marzocchi, Gaia Ameli, Maria Antonella Bardi, Laura Bonaldi, Rossella Paolini, Carmela Gurrieri, Gian Matteo Rigolin, Antonio Cuneo, Giovanni Martinelli, Michele Cavo, Nicoletta Testoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chromosomal rearrangements involving 3q26 are recurrent findings in myeloid malignancies leading to MECOM overexpression, which has been associated with a very poor prognosis. Other 3q abnormalities have been reported and cryptic MECOM rearrangements have been identified in some cases. By fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis, we investigated 97 acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome patients with various 3q abnormalities to determine the role and the frequency of the involvement of MECOM. We identified MECOM rearrangements in 51 patients, most of them showed 3q26 involvement by chromosome banding analysis (CBA): inv(3)/t(3;3) (n=26) and other balanced 3q26 translocations (t(3q26)) (n=15); the remaining cases (n=10) showed various 3q abnormalities: five with balanced translocations involving 3q21 or 3q25; two with homogenously staining region (hsr) on 3q; and three with other various 3q abnormalities. Complex rearrangements with multiple breakpoints on 3q, masking 3q26 involvement, were identified in cases with 3q21/3q25 translocations. Furthermore, multiple breaks were observed in two cases with t(3q26), suggesting that complex rearrangement may also occur in apparently simple t(3q26). Intrachromosomal gene amplification was another mechanism leading to MECOM overexpression in two cases with hsr on 3q. In the last three cases, FISH analysis revealed 3q26 involvement that was missed by CBA because of metaphases' suboptimal quality. All cases with MECOM rearrangements showed overexpression by real-time quantitative PCR. Finally, MECOM rearrangements can occur in patients with 3q abnormalities even in the absence of specific 3q26 involvement, underlining that their frequency is underestimated. As MECOM rearrangement has been associated with very poor prognosis, its screening should be performed in patients with any 3q abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-388
Number of pages14
JournalGenes Chromosomes and Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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