Multiplex RT-PCR assay for the detection of major fusion transcripts in Taiwanese children with B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Med Pediatr Oncol. 2002 Jul;39(1):12-7. doi: 10.1002/mpo.10092.


Background: The classification of B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) by specific chromosomal translocations may have prognostic implications. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay is a useful tool for the detection of fusion transcript resulting from specific chromosomal translocation of the leukemic cells. In general, fusion transcripts are determined individually, a process which is labor intensive in order to detect all major fusion transcripts.

Procedure: We use a multiplex RT-PCR assay to detect both the CML- and ALL-type BCR-ABL transcripts of the t(9;22), all described variants of the E2A-PBX1 transcripts of t(1;19), the MLL-AF4 transcripts of t(4;11), and all described variants of TEL-AML1 (also termed ETV6-CBFA2) of the cryptic t(12;21) in 165 leukemic samples at diagnosis.

Results: The study yielded a completely concordant result with those obtained by the individual RT-PCR assay. In this cohort of Taiwan children, the relative frequencies of the four translocations of B-lineage ALL were as following: 6% with ALL-type t(9;22)/BCR-ABL, 7% t(1;19)/E2A-PBX1, 3% t(4;11)/MLL-AF4, and 18% t(12;21)/TEL-AML1, comparable to those in the Western countries.

Conclusion: Multiplex RT-PCR assay is an efficient, sensitive, accurate, and cost-effective diagnostic tool, which will likely improve our ability in accurately and rapidly risk-stratifying children with ALL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • Female
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • MLL-AF4 fusion protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • TEL-AML1 fusion protein
  • E2A-Pbx1 fusion protein
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl