Characterisation of non-concordance in the T-cell receptor gamma chain genes at presentation and clinical relapse in acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Leukemia. 1994 Jan;8(1):60-6.


We have analysed the structure of the T-cell receptor gamma chain (TCRG) genes in a panel of biopsies taken from 24 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (13 cALL, one pre-B ALL, two null ALL and eight T-ALL) at presentation and at clinical relapse. In the majority of cases (18/24) the structure of these genes was concordant, but in a significant minority of cases (6/24) the TCRG genes were in a different conformation at different clinical stages. In three of these patients (one null ALL, two T-ALL) the clonal TCRG rearrangements detected at presentation were absent at relapse possibly as a result of clonal regression. In one other patient (cALL), the TCRG locus at relapse was rearranged to V genes which are located downstream of the V genes found in the presentation rearrangement. This indicates that the relapse leukemic clone is probably the result of clonal evolution. In two patients (one cALL, one T-ALL) there were no clonally dominant rearrangements of the TCRG genes at presentation, but evidence for clonal rearrangements at relapse, possibly as a result of clonal progression. The structure of the IgH genes were determined in four of the six patients with clonal changes in the TCRG genes and were found to be concordant. The changes in TCRG gene structure were not restricted to ALL of any one particular age group, phenotype or duration of first remission. These data indicate that the assignment of clonal specific markers based upon the sequence of TCRG rearrangements at presentation may not always be useful in the detection of minimal residual disease in ALL.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Rearrangement, gamma-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Infant
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / genetics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta