Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN) include acute myeloid leukemias and myelodysplastic syndromes arising in patients who have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunosuppressive agents or after documented exposure to environmental carcinogen. t-MN are defined according to the primary treatment and the corresponding genetic and molecular lesions. Chromosome(s) 7 and/or 5 monosomies or deletions are typical of alkylating agent-induced AML, while balanced translocations involving chromosome bands 11q23 and 21q22 are associated to preceeding therapy with DNA-topoisomerase II inhibitors. Antimetabolites, and in particular the immunosuppressive agents azathioprine and fludarabine, have also been recently associated to t-MN. Leukemias developing after benzene exposure are similar to t-MN and are characterized by chromosomal aberrations, which have been also observed among otherwise healthy benzene-exposed workers. Individual predisposing factors, including polymorphisms of detoxification and DNA-repair enzymes have been identified. Two genetic variants in key metabolizing enzymes, myeloperoxidase and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, have been shown to influence susceptibility to benzene hematotoxicity. Combination of polymorphisms impairing detoxification and DNA repair may significantly increase therapy-related myeloid neoplasm risk. Among hematological malignancies, long-term survivors of Hodgkin's lymphoma are exposed to an increased t-MN risk, particularly when receiving MOPP-based and escalated-BEACOPP regimens, and when alkylators are combined to radiotherapy. Patients with lymphoma are at highest risk if total body irradiation followed by autologous stem cell transplantation is used as rescue or consolidation. The addition of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and radiotherapy plays a significant role in t-MN following treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In solid tumors, treatment for breast cancer and germ-cell tumors has been associated with a 1-5% lifetime risk of t-MN.
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