The TCF3/PBX1 gene fusion is a recurrent genetic abnormality in pediatric B-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (B-ALL/LBL). While dual-color, dual-fusion fluorescence in situ hybridization (D-FISH) probes can detect TCF3/PBX1 fusions, further characterization of atypical TCF3 FISH patterns as indicated by additional or diminished TCF3 signals is currently limited. Herein we describe the use of a next-generation sequencing assay, mate-pair sequencing (MPseq), to characterize typical and cryptic TCF3/PBX1 fusions and to identify TCF3 translocation partners based on results obtained from our laboratory-developed TCF3/PBX1 D-FISH probe set. MPseq was performed on 21 cases of pediatric B-ALL/LBL with either TCF3/PBX1 fusion, or no TCF3/PBX1 fusion but with additional or diminished TCF3 signals obtained by our PBX1/TCF3 D-FISH probe set. In addition, MPseq was performed on one pediatric B-ALL/LBL case with an apparently normal karyotype and abnormal TCF3 break-apart probe results. Of 22 specimens successfully evaluated by MPseq, 13 cases (59%) demonstrated TCF3/PBX1 fusion, including three cases with previously undescribed insertional rearrangements. The remaining nine cases (41%) harbored various TCF3 partners, including six cases with TCF3/ZNF384, and one case each with TCF3/HLF, TCF3/FLI1 and TCF3/TEF. Our results illustrate the power of MPseq to characterize TCF3 rearrangements with increased precision and accuracy over traditional cytogenetic methodologies.
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