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October-December 2016 | Vol. 9 | Issue 4 | Page No 5-12
Clinical Cytogenetics in the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Leukemias
Krishna Reddy CH and Ashwin Dalal
Diagnostics Division, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad
Address for Correspondence Email: krishnareddy.chr@gmail.com
Leukemias are a group of disorders characterized by accumulation of malignant white cells in the bone marrow and blood. They are neoplastic, clonal disorders of the hematopoietic stem cells. They can be broadly classified as acute and chronic leukemias. The term acute, historically referring to a rapid onset and usually fatal outcome, indicates the relatively undifferentiated nature of the leukemic cells. Acute leukemias usually present with bleeding manifestations, severe anemia and severe infections, where as many patients with chronic leukemias are asymptomatic or present with splenomegaly, fever, weight loss, malaise, frequent infections, bleeding, thrombosis, or lymphadenopathy. Based on the cell of origin they are classified as myeloid and lymphoid leukemias. In the WHO classification, the term “Myeloid” includes all cells belonging to the granulocytic (neutrophil, eosinophil, basophil), monocytic/macrophage, erythroid, megakaryocytic and mast cell lineages (Vardiman et al., 2009). The overall annual incidence of these disorders in the general population is about 4 per 100,000 with approximately 70% of them being acute myeloid leukemia (AML). AML accounts for about 15% of childhood leukemias and for approximately 80% to 90% of acute leukemias in adults, with the median age at diagnosis of about 70 years. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is primarily a childhood disease, with the peak incidence between the ages of 2 to 3 years. Chronic leukemias predominantly occur in adults, the common ones being chronic myeloid leukemia comprising of 40% of all leukemias followed by chronic lymphoid leukemia.
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