Acute myeloid leukemia arising from a donor derived premalignant hematopoietic clone: A possible mechanism for the origin of leukemia in donor cells

Leuk Res Rep. 2014 May 20;3(2):38-41. doi: 10.1016/j.lrr.2014.04.001. eCollection 2014.


During recent years, it has become increasingly evident that donor leukemia following allogeneic transplant may be more common then realized in the past. We identified five cases of potential donor leukemia cases during past five years. The precise mechanism of the origin of such leukemias, however, remains poorly defined. In this short communication, we report a well documented case of donor-derived de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that developed fourteen years after allogeneic stem cell transplantation for treatment induced AML for his primary malignancy Immunoblastic lymphoma. This case allows us to postulate a possible mechanism of the origin of donor leukemia. The de novo AML clone contained a distinct cytogenetic abnormality, trisomy 11, which was simultaneously detected in preserved peripheral blood obtained at the time of transplantation as well as in the current bone marrow from an otherwise clinically and phenotypically normal donor. The findings from this unique case, provides insight into the process of leukemogenesis, and suggests that the sequence of events leading to leukemogenesis in this patient involved the senescence/apoptosis of normal donor hematopoietic cells due to telomere shortening resulting in the selective proliferation and transformation of this clone with MLL (mixed-lineage leukemia) gene amplification.

Keywords: Acute secondary leukemia; Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation; Donor leukemia; Origin of donor leukemia mechanism; Telomere length in translantation.