Acute myeloid leukemia: analysis of ras gene mutations and clonality defined by polymorphic X-linked loci

Leukemia. 1989 Apr;3(4):247-56.


In vitro DNA amplification and synthetic oligonucleotide hybridization was used to analyze 57 acute myelocytic leukemias (AML) for the presence of ras gene mutations. We demonstrated mutated alleles in 19% of primary AMLs (10/51) as well as in five of six secondary leukemias. Mutations occurred predominantly at N-ras codons 12, 13, or 61 (13 cases) and twice at Ki-ras codons 12 and 13. Ras gene mutations were preferentially associated with an M4 morphology according to the FAB (French-American-British) classification, but no particular correlation was observed with respect to clinical parameter (sex, age, course of disease) or immunophenotype and karyotype. Mutated ras alleles were absent in nine mutation-positive cases analyzed during remission. However, a more complex pattern emerged from the five patients analyzed in relapse exhibiting identical ras mutations in three cases, absence of a mutated allele in one patient, and acquisition of a N-ras mutation in yet another case, in which no mutation had been detected initially. Moreover, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) of the X-chromosome genes hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT) and phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) were studied in 19 of the AML patients. Nine cases (47%) were heterozygous for BglI or BamHI RFLPs at the PGK or HPRT loci, respectively, and therefore suitable for clonal analysis investigating X-chromosome inactivation. All of the patients exhibited a monoclonal leukemic cell population at presentation. In addition, five of seven cases studied in remission showed reemergence of a polyclonal pattern. However, two children exhibited persistence of monoclonal hematopoiesis despite complete clinical/hematological remission and a corresponding loss of a mutated ras allele in one of the patients. These data indicate the value of molecular genetic approaches for evaluation of the heterogeneous nature of remission and relapse in AML.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genes, ras*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Phosphoglycerate Kinase / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • X Chromosome*


  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase
  • Phosphoglycerate Kinase