Previous reports have indicated that mutations of the RAS oncogenes are not associated with the chronic phase of Philadelphia chromosome- positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (Ph1+ CML). However, further studies were needed to determine their association with Ph1- CML and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). Therefore, 6 patients with Ph1- CML who were also negative for BCR rearrangements (Ph1-/BCR- CML) and 30 patients with CMML were analyzed for the presence of RAS oncogene point mutations to determine the similarities of these diseases at the molecular level. The assay used the polymerase chain reaction for amplification of the target RAS sequences and panels of specific synthetic oligonucleotide probes for hybridization to wild type and/or mutated sequences. None of the six Ph1-/BCR- CML patients had mutations in the RAS oncogenes, while 17 of 30 (57%) of the CMML patients had RAS oncogene mutations. Eighty percent of the mutations involved substitution of aspartic acid for glycine (G----A) in the 12th or 13th codons of N-ras or K-ras. Furthermore, although not statistically significant, survival studies raise the possibility of shortened survival in patients with RAS oncogene point mutations, with the average survival being 33 months for Ph1-/BCR- CML, 35 months for CMML without point mutations, and 11 months for CMML with RAS mutations. Thus, RAS mutations appear to be associated with CMML and not Ph1-/BCR- chronic phase CML, there is a high propensity for the K-ras or N-ras mutations to involve an G----A substitution in the 12th or 13th codons, and RAS mutations in CMML may relate to prognosis and require further studies.

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