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Oncogenic Transcription Factors in the Human Acute Leukemias

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Science  07 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5340, pp. 1059-1064
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5340.1059

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Chromosomal translocations in the human acute leukemias rearrange the regulatory and coding regions of a variety of transcription factor genes. The resultant protein products can interfere with regulatory cascades that control the growth, differentiation, and survival of normal blood cell precursors. Support for this interpretation comes from the results of gene manipulation studies in mice, as well as the sequence homology of oncogenic transcription factors with proteins known to regulate embryonic development in primitive organisms, including the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Many of these genetic alterations have important prognostic implications that can guide the selection of therapy. The insights gained from studies of translocation-generated oncogenes and their protein products should hasten the development of highly specific, and hence less toxic, forms of leukemia therapy.

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