An isochromosome (17q) may be observed in myelo-and lymphoproliferative disorders, as well as in solid tumours and it is very frequent in Ph1-positive chronic myelocytic leukaemia (CML) during the blastic phase. A study on the mechanism of origin and on the centromeric function of the i(17q)s was performed by means of the C- and Cd-staining techniques in four CML patients. In all these cases, as well as in four others reported in the literature, the i(17q) is dicentric thus indicating that its origin is due to a break on the short arms followed by joining of the two chromatids containing the centromere. The Cd-technique indicates that one of the two centromeres is inactive: this result is consistent with the fact that the i(17q) in CML is a step in the clonal evolution towards the acute phase.
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