Methylation of the ABL1 promoter in chronic myelogenous leukemia: Lack of prognostic significance

Jean Pierre J. Issa, Hagop Kantarjian, Avinash Mohan, Susan O'Brien, Jorge Cortes, Sherry Pierce, Moshe Talpaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The BCR-ABL chromosomal translocation is a central event in the pathogenesis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). One of the ABL1 promoters (Pa) and the coding region of the gene are usually translocated intact to the BCR locus, but the translocated promoter appears to be silent in most cases. Recently, hypermethylation of Pa was demonstrated in CML and was proposed to mark advanced stages of the disease. To study this issue, we measured Pa methylation in CML using Southern blot analysis. Of 110 evaluable samples, 23 (21%) had no methylation, 17 (15%) had minimal (<15%) methylation, 12 (11%) had moderate methylation (15% to 25%), and 58 (53%) had high levels of methylation (>25%) at the ABL1 locus. High methylation was more frequent in advanced cases of CML. Among the 76 evaluable patients in early chronic phase (ECP), a major cytogenetic response with interferon-based therapy was observed in 14 of 34 patients with high methylation compared with 19 of 42 among the others (41% v 45%; P value not significant). At a median follow-up of 7 years, there was no significant difference in survival by ABL1 methylation category. Among patients who achieved a major cytogenetic response, low levels of methylation were associated with a trend towards improved survival, but this trend did not reach statistical significance. Thus, Pa methylation in CML is associated with disease progression but does not appear to predict for survival or response to interferon-based therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2075-2080
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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