ABSTRACT: Chromosomal translocations are a characteristic feature of leukaemia and other malignant diseases. As clonal markers, they can be applied to identify and quantify the number of malignant cells by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. The translocation t(4;11) is present in >60% of infant leukaemia. In order to facilitate the sequencing of chromosomal breakpoints, we developed an optimized set of 30 PCR primers and a new approach, designated as asymmetric multiplex PCR (am-PCR). Due to the high number of primers, small breakpoint-spanning DNA fragments are obtained in one nested multiplex PCR reaction. All PCR products contain an identical binding site for the initiation of direct sequencing. By using am-PCR, the translocation t(4;11) was examined in bone marrow and blood samples from children with acute leukaemia. Compared with previously described methods for the determination of genomic breakpoints, am-PCR may be advantageous with regard to its simplicity and rapidity. Breakpoint-spanning sequences were also evaluated with regard to their applicability as unique clonal markers to design primers and probes for minimal residual disease quantification by real-time PCR. This approach can easily be adapted to other chromosomal translocations in malignant diseases for the detection and analysis of clone-specific DNA markers.
British Journal of Haematology 02/2004; 124(1):47-54. · 4.94 Impact Factor