DNA copy-number abnormalities do not occur in infant ALL with t(4;11)/MLL-AF4

Leukemia. 2010 Jan;24(1):169-76. doi: 10.1038/leu.2009.203. Epub 2009 Nov 12.


The pathogenesis of infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is still not well defined. Short latency to leukemia and very high concordance rate for ALL in Mixed-Lineage Leukemia (MLL)-positive infant twins suggest that the MLL rearrangement itself could be sufficient for overt leukemia. Attempts to generate a suitable mouse model for MLL-AF4-positive ALL did not thoroughly resolve the issue of whether cooperating mutations are required to reduce latency and to generate overt leukemia in vivo. In this study, we applied single-nucleotide polymorphism array technology to perform genomic profiling of 28 infant ALL cases carrying t(4;11) to detect MLL-cooperating aberrations hidden to conventional techniques and to gain new insights into infant ALL pathogenesis. In contrast to pediatric, adolescent and adult ALL cases, the MLL rearrangement in infant ALL is associated with an exceptionally low frequency of copy-number abnormalities, thus confirming the unique nature of this disease. By contrast, additional genetic aberrations are acquired at disease relapse. Small-segmental uniparental disomy traits were frequently detected, mostly constitutional, and widely distributed throughout the genome. It can be argued that the MLL rearrangement as a first hit, rather than inducing the acquisition of additional genetic lesions, has a major role to drive and hasten the onset of leukemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 4*
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Translocation, Genetic*


  • MLL-AF4 fusion protein, human
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein