Approximately 2-3% of adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia harbor a rearrangement of RPN1 (at 3q21) and EVI1 (at 3q26.2) as inv(3)(q21q26.2), t(3;3)(q21;q26.2), or ins(3;3)(q26.2;q21q26.2). The most recent World Health Organization (WHO) classification has designated AML with inv(3) or t(3;3) and associated RPN1/EVI1 fusion, as a distinct AML subgroup associated with an unfavorable prognosis. We have created a dual color, double fusion fluorescence in situ hybridization (D-FISH) assay to detect fusion of the RPN1 and EVI1 genes. A blinded investigation was performed using 30 normal bone marrow samples and 51 bone marrow samples from 17 patients with inv(3)(q21q26.2), 11 patients with t(3;3)(q21;q26.2), and one patient with ins(3;3)(q26.2;q21q26.2) previously defined by chromosome analysis. The unblinded results indicated abnormal RPN1/EVI1 fusion results in 30 (97%) of 31 samples from the inv(3)(q21q26.2) group including seven bone marrow samples for which chromosome analysis was unsuccessful or failed to detect an inv(3)(q21q26.2). Abnormal FISH results were detected in 14 (88%) of 16 samples with t(3;3)(q21;q26.2) and in the sole sample with an ins(3;3)(q26.2;q21q26.2). All 30 negative controls were normal and were used to establish a normal cutoff of 0.6% for the typical abnormal D-FISH signal pattern. Overall, this DFISH assay was more accurate than chromosome analysis and based on the normal cutoff of 0.6%, this assay can be used for minimal residual disease detection and disease monitoring in patients with RPN1/ EVI1 fusion.
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