Introduction: A new isodicentric variant of del(20q) was recently described; namely ider(20)(p11.2)del(20)(q11.2q13.3). The frequency and clinical significance of this anomaly are not yet established. This anomaly is usually missed in routine cytogenetic studies and the common commercial FISH probe, D20S108, does not distinguish between del(20q) and ider(20q). The goals of this study were to determine 1) the frequency and hematopathology of patients (pts) with ider(20q) and 2) the best cytogenetic methods to distinguish among various del(20q) anomalies.

Methods: We selected 12 pts referred for chromosome studies with -20,+mar to look for evidence of ider(20q). For comparison, we also randomly selected 12 pts with classical del(20q). Up to 10 bone marrow metaphases were studied for each of these 24 pts using FISH with probes for 20pter, JAG1 (20p12), centromere 20, D20S108 (20q12) and 20qter. We also studied 200 interphase nuclei from each pt using D20S108 and 20qter probes. We reviewed cytogenetic results for a consecutive series of pts in our hematological practice between 9/1/05 and 12/31/05 to establish the frequency of ider(20q). Blood and marrow slides were available for microscopic evaluation in 9 of 12 pts. with ider(20q).

Results: By metaphase FISH, each of the 12 pts with del(20q) were 20pter+, JAG1+, D20S108- and 20qter+ indicating an interstitial deletion. Each of the 12 pts with ider(20q) were 20pter-, JAG1-, D20S108-- and 20qter++ indicating an isodicentric chromosome with an interstitial del(20q) on either side of the centromere. The ider(20q) is best detected using probe for D20S108 and 20qter. By FISH each pt with ider(20q) had a mixture of cells with del(20q) and ider(20q), though cells with only del(20q) were not usually detected by chromosome studies. One pt had a subclone with two copies of ider(20q). Interphase FISH identified del(20q) and ider(20q) in each specimen. Hematopathology studies of 9 pts with ider(20q) indicated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with multilineage dysplasia in 1 and myelodysplastic syndrome in 8 (refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia (RCMD) in 3, RCMD with ringed sideroblasts in 3, atypical myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative disease in 1, and refractory anemia with excess blasts-2 (RAEB-2) in 1). Additional chromosome anomalies were detected in the pts with AML with multilineage dysplasia and RAEB-2. Six pts had dysgranulopoiesis in addition to dysmegakaryopoiesis and/or dyserythropoiesis. Among 5,744 pts in our hematological clinical practice screened by interphase FISH, ider(20q) was seen in 8, but 8 of 78 pts with del(20q) also had ider(20q).

Discussion: In clinical practice ider(20q) is common in hematological disorders and occurs in 0.14% of all pts and in 10% of pts with del(20q). This figure may underestimate the true frequency of ider(20q) because novel FISH studies with D20S108 and 20qter are required to confirm its presence. When G-banding preparations indicate -20,+mar, then ider(20q) should be suspected. The literature is sparse but pts with ider(20q) appeared to have a more consistent presentation of multilineage dysplasia with additional involvement of the granulocytic series than pts with del(20q). These results suggest that it is helpful to distinguish among various forms of del(20q) in clinical practice using both chromosome and FISH studies with D20S108 and 20qter.

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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