TEL/AML-1 fusion gene. its frequency and prognostic significance in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2000 Oct 15;122(2):73-8. doi: 10.1016/s0165-4608(00)00272-7.


TEL gene rearrangement due to the 12;21 chromosome translocation is believed to be the most common molecular genetic abnormality in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). A study was conducted to investigate the frequency and prognostic significance of TEL/AML-1 fusion gene resulting from a cryptic t(12;21)(p13;q22). Bone marrow samples from 86 patients diagnosed over the past 5 years at Columbus Children's Hospital were analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique for TEL/AML-1 fusion gene, using LSI((R)) DNA probes. The positive cases were analyzed for clinical outcome. Patients in this study received treatment according to Children's Cancer Group (CCG) protocols. Fifteen of the 86 cases (17%) were positive for the fusion gene. All were B-cell lineage and except for one, all were CD10 positive. TEL/AML-1 was not found in any T-cell ALL. The mean overall survival (OS) following diagnosis for the TEL/AML-1-positive group was significantly longer than for the TEL/AML-1-negative group by log-rank = 7.84, P = 0.005. Similarly, the event-free survival (EFS) after remission for the positive group (median 94.5 months) was longer than the negative group (median 57 months) by log-rank = 7.19, P = 0.007. This study confirms that the TEL/AML-1 fusion gene may be the most common genetic event in childhood ALL, occurring in 17% of the patients. It appears restricted to the B-cell lineage. In this study, the presence of a TEL/AML-1 fusion gene was statistically significant in predicting both OS and EFS, indicating a favorable clinical outcome for these patients. Screening for TEL/AML-1 should become routine at diagnosis and a useful biological variable for risk stratification in future clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis


  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • TEL-AML1 fusion protein