Acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) is a rare malignancy affecting megakaryocytes, platelet-producing cells that reside in the bone marrow. Children with Down syndrome (DS) are particularly prone to developing the disease and have a different age of onset, distinct genetic mutations, and better prognosis as compared with individuals without DS who develop the disease. Here, we discuss the contributions of chromosome 21 genes and other genetic mutations to AMKL, the clinical features of the disease, and the differing features of DS- and non-DS-AMKL. Further studies elucidating the role of chromosome 21 genes in this disease may aid our understanding of how they function in other types of leukemia, in which they are frequently mutated or differentially expressed. Although researchers have made many insights into understanding AMKL, much more remains to be learned about its underlying molecular mechanisms.
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