Chromosomal translocations have proven to be important markers of the genetic abnormalities central to the pathogenesis of cancer. By cloning chromosomal breakpoints one can identify activated proto-oncogenes. We have studied a case of B-lineage acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) that was associated with peripheral blood eosinophilia. The chromosomal translocation t(5;14) (q31;q32) from this sample was cloned and studied at the molecular level. This translocation joined the immunoglobulin heavy chain joining (Jh) region to the promotor region of the interleukin-3 (IL-3) gene in opposite transcriptional orientations. The data suggest that activation of the IL-3 gene by the enhancer of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene may play a central role in the pathogenesis of this leukemia and the associated eosinophilia.

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