Molecular characterization of TCF3::PBX1 chromosomal breakpoints in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and their use for measurable residual disease assessment


  • T. Burmeister
  • D. Gröger
  • N. Gökbuget
  • B. Spriewald
  • M. Starck
  • A. Elmaagacli
  • D. Hoelzer
  • U. Keller
  • S. Schwartz


  • Scientific Reports


  • Sci Rep 13 (1): 15167


  • The translocation t(1;19)(q23;p13) with the resulting chimeric TCF3::PBX1 gene is the third most prevalent recurrent chromosomal translocation in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and accounts for 3-5% of cases. The molecular background of this translocation has been incompletely studied, especially in adult cases. We characterized the chromosomal breakpoints of 49 patients with TCF3::PBX1 and the corresponding reciprocal PBX1::TCF3 breakpoints in 15 cases at the molecular level, thus providing an extensive molecular overview of this translocation in a well-defined study patient population. Breakpoints were found to be remarkably clustered not only in TCF3 but also in PBX1. No association with DNA repeats or putative cryptic recombination signal sequence sites was observed. A simplified detection method for breakpoint identification was developed and the feasibility of patient-specific chromosomal break sites as molecular markers for detecting measurable residual disease (MRD) was explored. A highly sensitive generic real-time PCR for MRD assessment using these breakpoint sequences was established that could serve as a useful alternative to the classical method utilizing rearranged immune gene loci. This study provides the first extensive molecular data set on the chromosomal breakpoints of the t(1;19)/TCF3::PBX1 aberration in adult ALL. Based on the obtained data a generic MRD method was developed that has several theoretical advantages, including an on average higher sensitivity and a greater stability of the molecular marker in the course of disease.