Which cytogenetic abnormalities may be present in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)?

Updated: May 26, 2020
  • Author: Karen Seiter, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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In more than 95% of cases of APL, cytogenetic testing reveals t(15;17)(q21;q11). Molecular studies reveal the PML/RARa rearrangement. Patients with either t(15;17) or the PML/RARa rearrangement respond well to all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and chemotherapy.

A small percentage of patients have other cytogenetic abnormalities, including t(11;17)(q23;q11), t(11;17)(q13;q11), t(5;17)(q31;q11), or t(17;17). Patients with t(11;17)(q23;q11) are resistant to ATRA. Older studies using standard chemotherapy regimens without ATRA showed that approximately 70% of patients achieved complete response and 30% were disease free at 5 years. Induction failures were due to deaths resulting from hemorrhage caused by DIC, with few actual resistant cases. [85, 86, 87]

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