The t(9;22) in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) may be reciprocal or, in a minority of cases, may result in an extensive deletion of a portion of the major breakpoint cluster region (M-bcr) of the BCR. This report provides evidence of the duplication of small segments within the M-bcr in a small group of patients with CML. Southern blots of Bgl II and Bgl II/BamHI double-digested DNA from the blood or bone marrow of 46 patients with CML were probed with a 5' 1.4-kb Taq I/HindIII M- bcr probe and a 3' 2-kb HindIII/BamHI M-bcr probe. In three patients, rearrangements were noted with both probes in Bgl II-digested DNA, but were not present in Bgl II/BamHI-digested DNA with either probe. Southern analysis of DNA samples double-digested with Bgl II and BspHI from two of these three cases showed no rearrangements with either probe; the M-bcr BspHI site is located 26 bp 3' of the BamHI site in the second intron of the M-bcr. The presence of a rearranged M-bcr with both probes in Bgl II-digested DNA and the lack of rearrangement in Bgl II/BamHI and Bgl II/BspHI double-digested DNA suggest the presence of M- bcr BamHI and BspHI sites on both 9q+ chromosome (9q+) and the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph). This implies a duplication of at least the 26-bp M-bcr BamHI/BspHI fragment in these two samples. Sequence data from one of these two cases confirmed the M-bcr breakpoints to be staggered; the Ph M-bcr breakpoint occurred 258 bp downstream from the 9q+ M-bcr breakpoint. It is concluded that a duplication of small segments within the M-bcr occurs in a small group of patients with CML, which may lead to pseudogermline patterns on Southern blot. Such a duplication may provide insight into the mechanism of some chromosomal translocations in neoplasia.

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