Reciprocal translocations involving the MLL gene on chromosome band 11q23 have been observed in both acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In AML, identification of MLL breakpoints is an important prognostic factor. Breakpoints are clustered in an 8 kb DNA fragment (bcr) and can be detected by Southern blotting or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. Our objective in this study was to design a DNA probe set that enables optimal detection of MLL rearrangements using interphase FISH. Two PAC clones, 217A21 and 167K13, spanning the MLL gene with a minimal overlap in the bcr were isolated and labeled. Twenty-seven AML/ALL patients with cytogenetic 11q23 abnormalities, seven AML/ALL patients without 11q23 abnormalities but MLL rearrangement by Southern blotting, and eight healthy donors were analyzed by FISH. We compared this double-color FISH analysis with FISH using a YAC clone (yB22B2) and with Southern blotting. The PAC probe combination detects an MLL breakpoint in all cases with MLL rearrangement detected by Southern blotting except for cases with a partial tandem duplication detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). FISH using the PAC probes also detected MLL breakpoints in four cases with MLL deletions telomeric to the breakpoint that could not be detected by the single probe yB22B2. This new probe set provides a reliable and rapid assay for the diagnosis of AML and ALL patients with MLL/11q23 breakpoints.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.