Distinct gene signatures of transient and acute megakaryoblastic leukemia in Down syndrome

Leukemia. 2004 Oct;18(10):1617-23. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2403466.


Approximately 10% of newborns with Down syndrome develop Transient Leukemia (TL), a disorder that is unique to infants with constitutional trisomy 21 (or trisomy 21 mosaicism). TL blasts disappear spontaneously within the first 3 months of life in the majority of cases. Despite the resolution of TL, 20-30% of these newborns will go on to develop acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) later in life. In this study, samples from both TL and AMKL patients were examined using cDNA microarrays to study the pathogenic progression from TL to AMKL. TL and AMKL samples partition separately by cluster analysis, and AMKL samples had substantial increases in apolipoprotein C-I, transporter 1, myosin alkali light chain 4, and spermidine/spermine N-acetyltransferase, compared to TL samples. Although these findings will require validation in an independent series of TL and AMKL samples, they indicate that TL and AMKL have distinct gene signatures, and provide a basis for studies of the different mechanisms underlying either the resolution of TL or its progression to AMKL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Down Syndrome / complications
  • Down Syndrome / genetics*
  • Down Syndrome / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Megakaryoblastic, Acute / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Megakaryoblastic, Acute / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor