Relationship between the c-myb locus and the 6q-chromosomal aberration in leukemias and lymphomas

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Science  27 Feb 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4792, pp. 1064-1067
DOI: 10.1126/science.3469751


Deletions of the long arm of chromosome 6 (6q-) are frequently found in hematopoietic neoplasms, including acute lymphoblastic leukemias, non-Hodgkin lymphomas and (less frequently) myeloid leukemias. The c-myb proto-oncogene has been mapped to region 6q21-24, which suggests that it could be involved in the 6q- aberrations. By means of in situ chromosomal hybridization on cells from six hematopoietic malignancies, it was demonstrated that the c-myb locus is not deleted, but is retained on band q22, which is consistently bordered by the chromosomal breakpoints in both interstitial and terminal 6q- deletions. The deletion breakpoints were located at some distance from the myb locus since no rearrangement of c-myb sequences was found. In one case, however, amplification of the entire c-myb locus was detectable. Furthermore, in all cases tested that carry 6q- deletions, myb messenger RNA levels were significantly higher than in normal cells or in malignant cells matched for lineage and stage of differentiation but lacking the 6q- marker. These results indicate that 6q- deletions are accompanied by structural and functional alterations of the c-myb locus and that these alterations may be involved in the pathogenesis of leukemias and lymphomas.