Interphase fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) was applied on diagnostic BM smears from 519 children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in order to establish the frequency and prognostic importance of 9p21 deletion in children enrolled in the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO) - 2000 treatment protocol. Among the patients, 452 were diagnosed with B-cell precursor (BCP)-ALL and 66 with T-ALL. A higher incidence of 9p21 deletions was found in T-ALL (38%) compared to BCP-ALL (15·7%). Homozygous deletions were found in 19·7% of T-ALL and 4·0% of BCP-ALL; hemizygous deletions were found in 18·2% and 11·7% respectively. In our series, 9p21 deletions were detected in all age groups with a steady rise in the frequency with age. There was no significant difference in outcome between cases with or without 9p21 deletion or between cases with hemi- or homozygous deletions of 9p21. In conclusion, in this large series of childhood ALL deletion of 9p21 was not associated with worse prognosis. However, interphase FISH deletion analysis of 9p21 could be used as a first step to detect unfavourable subtle cytogenetic aberrations such as the dic(9;20) rearrangement.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.