Abstract

The Philadelphia (Ph1) chromosome, in which the hybrid bcr-abl gene is formed, is thought to be the initial event in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The position of the breakpoint within the breakpoint cluster region (bcr) on Ph1 chromosome and the splicing pattern determine the species of the fused bcr-abl messenger RNA (mRNA). We tried to detect the two types of fused mRNAs in 57 chronic-phase cases of Ph1-positive CML using the polymerase chain reaction procedure (RT- PCR). The bcr exon 2/abl exon 2 fused mRNA (b2-a2) was detected in 17 patients, the bcr exon 3/abl exon 2 fused mRNA (b3-a2) was detected in 34 patients, and both types of mRNA were detected in six patients. The platelet counts of patients who expressed b3-a2 mRNA or both types were significantly higher than those of patients who expressed only b2-a2 (841.5 v 373.5 x 10(9)/L; P less than .015), although there was no significant difference in the white blood cell counts or hemoglobin. This finding suggests a possibility that the type of bcr-abl mRNA may affect the thrombopoietic activity in CML.

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