MLL is fused to ENL or ELL in acute leukemias that contain t(ll;19)(q23;p13). Although ENL and ELL localize to chromosome 19, bands p13.3 and p13.1, respectively, these breakpoints are not always readily distinguished by standard cytogenetics. We therefore used reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays to analyze 26 cases of childhood acute leukemia containing t(11;19) to determine the frequencies of ENL and ELL involvement. All 17 cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) had MLL/ENL fusion transcripts. By contrast, of the 9 cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) analyzed, 6 had MLL/ENL fusions, 2 had MLL/ELL fusions, and 1 case had no RT-PCR- detectable MLL fusion mRNA. These data suggest that the majority of 11;19 translocations involve ENL, whereas involvement of ELL is relatively uncommon in childhood acute leukemia and may be restricted to AML.

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