Publications by authors named "Debes H Christiansen"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Epidemiology and Clinical Course of First Wave Coronavirus Disease Cases, Faroe Islands.

Emerg Infect Dis 2021 03 29;27(3):749-758. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

The Faroe Islands was one of the first countries in the Western Hemisphere to eliminate coronavirus disease (COVID-19). During the first epidemic wave in the country, 187 cases were reported between March 3 and April 22, 2020. Large-scale testing and thorough contact tracing were implemented early on, along with lockdown measures. Transmission chains were mapped through patient history and knowledge of contact with prior cases. The most common reported COVID-19 symptoms were fever, headache, and cough, but 11.2% of cases were asymptomatic. Among 187 cases, 8 patients were admitted to hospitals but none were admitted to intensive care units and no deaths occurred. Superspreading was evident during the epidemic because most secondary cases were attributed to just 3 infectors. Even with the high incidence rate in early March, the Faroe Islands successfully eliminated the first wave of COVID-19 through the early use of contact tracing, quarantine, social distancing, and large-scale testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2703.202589DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7920693PMC
March 2021

Characterization of ranaviruses isolated from lumpfish L. in the North Atlantic area: proposal for a new ranavirus species (European North Atlantic Ranavirus).

J Gen Virol 2020 02 20;101(2):198-207. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Technical University of Denmark, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Aquatic Animal Health Unit, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.

The commercial production of lumpfish L. is expanding with the increased demand for their use as cleaner fish, to control sea-lice numbers, at marine Atlantic salmon L. aquaculture sites throughout Northern Europe. A new ranavirus has been isolated from lumpfish at multiple locations in the North Atlantic area. First isolated in 2014 in the Faroe Islands, the virus has subsequently been found in lumpfish from Iceland in 2015 and from Scotland and Ireland in 2016. The Icelandic lumpfish ranavirus has been characterized by immunofluorescent antibody test, optimal growth conditions and transmission electron microscopy. Partial sequences of the major capsid protein gene from 12 isolates showed 99.79-100% nt identity between the lumpfish ranaviruses. Complete genome sequencing from three of the isolates and phylogenetic analysis based on the concatenated 26 iridovirus core genes suggest these lumpfish ranavirus isolates form a distinct clade with ranaviruses from cod L. and turbot L. isolated in Denmark in 1979 and 1999, respectively. These data suggest that these viruses should be grouped together as a new ranavirus species, European North Atlantic Ranavirus, which encompasses ranaviruses isolated from marine fishes in European North Atlantic waters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/jgv.0.001377DOI Listing
February 2020

Presence and genetic variability of Piscine orthoreovirus genotype 1 (PRV-1) in wild salmonids in Northern Europe and North Atlantic Ocean.

J Fish Dis 2019 Aug 28;42(8):1107-1118. Epub 2019 May 28.

National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.

Piscine orthoreovirus genotype 1 (PRV-1) is widespread in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) populations in northern Europe, Canada and Chile. PRV-1 occurs in wild fish in Norway and Canada; however, little information of its geographical distribution in wild populations is currently available, and the effect of PRV-1 infection in wild populations is currently unknown. In this study, we present the findings of a survey conducted on 1,130 wild salmonids sampled in Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Faroe Islands, France, Belgium and Greenland between 2008 and 2017. PRV-1 is reported for the first time in wild salmonids in Denmark, Sweden, Faroe Island and Ireland. The annual PRV-1 prevalence ranged from 0% in France, Belgium and Greenland to 43% in Faroe Islands. In total, 66 samples tested positive for PRV-1, including Atlantic salmon broodfish returning to spawn and Atlantic salmon collected at the feeding ground north of Faroe Islands. The phylogenetic analysis of S1 sequences of the PRV-1 isolates obtained in this survey did not show systematic geographical distribution. This study sheds light on the spread and genetic diversity of the virus identified in populations of free-living fish and provides rationale for screening wild broodfish used in restocking programmes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jfd.13025DOI Listing
August 2019

Evolution of the Genome Linked to Emergence of Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation in Farmed Atlantic Salmon ().

Viruses 2019 05 22;11(5). Epub 2019 May 22.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 0454 Oslo, Norway.

Heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) in farmed Atlantic salmon ( was first diagnosed in Norway in 1999. The disease is caused by -1 (PRV-1). The virus is prevalent in farmed Atlantic salmon, but not always associated with disease. Phylogeny and sequence analyses of 31 PRV-1 genomes collected over a 30-year period from fish with or without HSMI, grouped the viral sequences into two main monophylogenetic clusters, one associated with HSMI and the other with low virulent PRV-1 isolates. A PRV-1 strain from Norway sampled in 1988, a decade before the emergence of HSMI, grouped with the low virulent HSMI cluster. The two distinct monophylogenetic clusters were particularly evident for segments S1 and M2. Only a limited number of amino acids were unique to the association with HSMI, and they all located to S1 and M2 encoded proteins. The observed co-evolution of the S1-M2 pair coincided in time with the emergence of HSMI in Norway, and may have evolved through accumulation of mutations and/or segment reassortment. Sequences of S1-M2 suggest selection of the HSMI associated pair, and that this segment pair has remained almost unchanged in Norwegian salmon aquaculture since 1997. PRV-1 strains from the North American Pacific Coast and Faroe Islands have not undergone this evolution, and are more closely related to the PRV-1 precursor strains not associated with clinical HSMI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v11050465DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6563308PMC
May 2019

Carnitine levels and mutations in the SLC22A5 gene in Faroes patients with Parkinson's disease.

Neurosci Lett 2018 05 31;675:116-119. Epub 2018 Mar 31.

Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health, The Faroese Hospital System, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands; Centre of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. Electronic address:

Introduction: Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and energy production have been implicated in the etiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). Several agents are under investigation for potential neuroprotective effects including acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC).

Objective: To investigate whether low carnitine levels and mutations in the SLC22A5 gene encoding the carnitine transporter are associates with PD risk in the Faroe Islands where the prevalence of both PD and carnitine transporter deficiency (CTD) is high.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study with 121 cases and 235 randomly selected controls, matched by gender and age. Blood spots were analyzed for free and total carnitine levels by QUATTRO LC triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (MS/MS) and sequencing performed for five genetic mutations in the SLC22A5 gene with ABI PRISM 3130.

Results: PD cases had significantly lower levels of free and total carnitine levels compared with controls (P < .001). However, stratifying according to mutation status, the lower levels of carnitine was only evident among the non-mutation carriers. Specifically, no difference was found in c.95A > G mutation frequency in the SLC22A5 gene among cases and controls (p = .70).

Conclusion: Low carnitine levels seem to be associated with PD, but only in individuals without the c.95A > G mutation rendering the carnitine transporter less efficient. Thus, the difference in carnitine levels is not caused by a higher frequency of c.95A > G mutation carriers in cases. The cause may be dietary or due to different gut microbiota among cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2018.03.064DOI Listing
May 2018

First field evidence of the evolution from a non-virulent HPR0 to a virulent HPR-deleted infectious salmon anaemia virus.

J Gen Virol 2017 Apr;98(4):595-606

Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway.

The putatively non-virulent subtype of infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV), ISAV-HPR0, is proposed to act as a progenitor and reservoir for all virulent ISAVs and thus represent a potential risk factor for the emergence of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) disease. Here, we provide the first evidence of genetic and functional evolution from an ISAV-HPR0 variant (FO/07/12) to a low-virulent ISAV virus (FO/121/14) in a Faroese Atlantic salmon marine farm. The FO/121/14 virus infection was not associated with specific clinical signs of ISA and was confined to a single net-pen, while various ISAV-HPR0 subtypes were found circulating in most epidemiologically linked marine and freshwater farms. Sequence analysis of all eight segments revealed that the FO/121/14 virus was identical, apart from a substitution in the fusion (F) gene (Q266L) and a deletion in the haemagglutinin-esterase (HE) gene, to the FO/07/12 variant from a freshwater farm, which supplied smolts exclusively to the FO/121/14-positive net-pen. An immersion challenge with the FO/121/14 virus induced a systemic infection in Atlantic salmon associated with a low mortality and mild clinical signs confirming its low pathogenicity. Our results demonstrate that mutations in the F protein and deletions in the highly polymorphic region (HPR) of the HE protein represent a minimum requirement for ISAV to gain virulence and to switch cell tropism from a localized epithelial infection to a systemic endotheliotropic infection. This documents that ISAV-HPR0 represents a reservoir and risk factor for the emergence of ISA disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/jgv.0.000741DOI Listing
April 2017

Localised Infection of Atlantic Salmon Epithelial Cells by HPR0 Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus.

PLoS One 2016 21;11(3):e0151723. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway.

Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) is an important, systemic viral disease of farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. Endothelial cells are the main target cells for highly virulent HPR-deleted ISA virus (ISAV) types. Here we examine the pathogenesis of non-virulent ISAV HPR0 infections, presenting evidence of an epithelial tropism for this virus type, including actual infection and replication in the epithelial cells. Whereas all HPR0 RT-qPCR positive gills prepared for cryosection tested positive by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescent labelling, only 21% of HPR0 RT-qPCR positive formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded gills were IHC positive, suggesting different methodological sensitivities. Only specific epithelial cell staining was observed and no staining was observed in endothelial cells of positive gills. Furthermore, using an ISAV segment 7 RT-PCR assay, we demonstrated splicing of HPR0, suggesting initial activation of the replication machinery in the epithelial gill cells. Immunological responses were investigated by the expression of interferon-related genes (e.g. Mx and γIP) and by ELISA for presence of anti-ISAV antibodies on samples taken sequentially over several months during an episode of transient HPR0 infection. All fish revealed a variable, but increased expression of the immunological markers in comparison to normal healthy fish. Taken together, we conclude that HPR0 causes a localized epithelial infection of Atlantic salmon.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151723PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4801213PMC
August 2016

Infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) mucosal infection in Atlantic salmon.

Vet Res 2015 Oct 21;46:120. Epub 2015 Oct 21.

Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway.

All viruses infecting fish must cross the surface mucosal barrier to successfully enter a host. Infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV), the causative agent of the economically important infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., has been shown to use the gills as its entry point. However, other entry ports have not been investigated despite the expression of virus receptors on the surface of epithelial cells in the skin, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the conjunctiva. Here we investigate the ISAV mucosal infection in Atlantic salmon after experimental immersion (bath) challenge and in farmed fish collected from a confirmed outbreak of ISA in Norway. We show for the first time evidence of early replication in several mucosal surfaces in addition to the gills, including the pectoral fin, skin and GI tract suggesting several potential entry points for the virus. Initially, the infection is localized and primarily infecting epithelial cells, however at later stages it becomes systemic, infecting the endothelial cells lining the circulatory system. Viruses of low and high virulence used in the challenge revealed possible variation in virus progression during infection at the mucosal surfaces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13567-015-0265-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4618535PMC
October 2015

Low virulent infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) replicates and initiates the immune response earlier than a highly virulent virus in Atlantic salmon gills.

Vet Res 2014 Aug 21;45:83. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Marine Scotland Science, Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

Observations from the field and experimental evidence suggest that different strains of infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) can induce disease of varying severity in Atlantic salmon. Variation in host mortality and dissemination of ISAV isolates with high and low virulence was investigated using immersion challenge; from which mortality, pathological, immunohistochemical and preliminary molecular results have been previously published. Here, real-time RT-PCR analysis and statistical modelling have been used to further investigate variation in virus load and the response of four select immune genes. Expression of type I and II interferon (IFN), Mx and γIFN induced protein (γIP) to high and low pathogenic virus infection were examined in gill, heart and anterior kidney. In addition, a novel RNA species-specific assay targeting individual RNA types was used to investigate the separate viral processes of transcription and replication. Unexpectedly, the low virulent ISAV (LVI) replicated and transcribed more rapidly in the gills compared to the highly virulent virus (HVI). Subsequently LVI was able to disseminate to the internal organs more quickly and induced a more rapid systemic immune response in the host that may have offered some protection. Contrary to this, HVI initially progressed more slowly in the gills resulting in a slower generalised infection. However HVI ultimately reached a higher viral load and induced a greater mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13567-014-0083-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144175PMC
August 2014

Ultra-deep pyrosequencing of partial surface protein genes from infectious Salmon Anaemia virus (ISAV) suggest novel mechanisms involved in transition to virulence.

PLoS One 2013 26;8(11):e81571. Epub 2013 Nov 26.

Department of Laboratory Services, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway.

Uncultivable HPR0 strains of infectious salmon anaemia viruses (ISAVs) infecting gills are non-virulent putative precursors of virulent ISAVs (vISAVs) causing systemic disease in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). The transition to virulence involves two molecular events, a deletion in the highly polymorphic region (HPR) of the hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) gene and a Q266→L266 substitution or insertion next to the putative cleavage site (R267) in the fusion protein (F). We have performed ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS) of these gene regions from healthy fish positive for HPR0 virus carrying full-length HPR sampled in a screening program, and a vISAV strain from an ISA outbreak at the same farming site three weeks later, and compared the mutant spectra. As the UDPS data shows the presence of both HE genotypes at both sampling times, and the outbreak strain was unlikely to be directly related to the HPR0 strain, this is the first report of a double infection with HPR0s and vISAVs. For F amplicon reads, mutation frequencies generating L266 codons in screening samples and Q266 codons in outbreak samples were not higher than at any random site. We suggest quasispecies heterogeneity as well as RNA structural properties are linked to transition to virulence. More specifically, a mechanism where selected single point mutations in the full-length HPR alter the RNA structure facilitating single- or sequential deletions in this region is proposed. The data provides stronger support for the deletion hypothesis, as opposed to recombination, as the responsible mechanism for generating the sequence deletions in HE.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081571PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3841194PMC
October 2014

A low-pathogenic variant of infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV-HPR0) is highly prevalent and causes a non-clinical transient infection in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in the Faroe Islands.

J Gen Virol 2011 Apr 9;92(Pt 4):909-18. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Food and Veterinary Agency, National Reference Laboratory for Fish Diseases, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.

Infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV) is an orthomyxovirus responsible for a significant disease of farmed Atlantic salmon. Fallowing and re-establishment of the Atlantic salmon farming industry in the Faroes following a recent devastating infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) disease epidemic provided a unique opportunity to study the risk of re-emergence of disease. Over 53 months, 2787 of 34 573 (8.1%) apparently healthy Atlantic salmon analysed tested positive for ISAV by RT-PCR. Sequence analysis revealed the putative low-pathogenic ISAV-HPR0 subtype in all cases. Results demonstrated that ISAV-HPR0 appeared as a seasonal and transient infection without detectable ISA mortality or pathology. This finding, coupled to an apparent gill tropism of ISAV-HPR0, suggests ISAV-HPR0 causes a subclinical respiratory infection more like seasonal influenza, as opposed to the systemic infection and serious disease caused by highly pathogenic ISAV. The mean time before marine sites became infected was 7.7 months after transfer to seawater of the fish, suggesting a potentially unknown marine reservoir of infection. Sequence analysis identified two main subtypes of ISAV-HPR0 sequences, one of which showed close genetic association with ISAV isolates responsible for the disease outbreak in the Faroes. Thus ISAV-HPR0 might represent an ancestor of pathogenic variants and thus be a potential risk factor in the emergence of new strains of disease-causing ISAV. Our data, however, suggest that the risk of emergence of pathogenic ISAV variants from a reservoir of ISAV-HPR0 is low. This risk is probably being further reduced by practical management strategies adopted in the Faroes and aimed at reducing the potential for maintenance and adaptation of ISAV-HPR0.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/vir.0.027094-0DOI Listing
April 2011

Mutations of the PTPN11 gene in therapy-related MDS and AML with rare balanced chromosome translocations.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2007 Jun;46(6):517-21

Cytogenetic Laboratory, Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Clinical Genetics, The Juliane Marie Center, Copenhagen DK 2100 Ø, Denmark.

Activating mutations of the PTPN11 gene encoding the SHP2 tyrosine phosphatase is the most common genetic abnormality in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia and is sporadically observed in myelodysplasia (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). An unselected series of 140 patients with therapy-related MDS or AML were investigated for mutations of PTPN11 in Exons 3, 4, 8, and 13. Four cases had mutations of the gene; three of these had deletions or loss of chromosome arm 7q. Two cases had rare balanced translocations to chromosome band 21q22 with rearrangement of the RUNX1 gene and the other two patients had rare balanced translocations to chromosome band 3q26 with rearrangement of the EVI1 gene. The findings support cooperation between so called Class I and Class II mutations in leukemogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.20426DOI Listing
June 2007

Centromeric breakage and highly rearranged chromosome derivatives associated with mutations of TP53 are common in therapy-related MDS and AML after therapy with alkylating agents: an M-FISH study.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2005 Apr;42(4):358-71

Department of Clinical Genetics, Section of Hematology/Oncology, The Juliane Marie Center, Rigshospitalet 4052, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.

Multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH) was performed on bone marrow cells of 116 unselected cases of therapy-related myelodysplasia (t-MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML), and the results were compared with those of previously performed with G-banding. Among 18 patients with a normal karyotype, no cryptic chromosome aberrations were observed with M-FISH. In 56 patients with a previously solved abnormal karyotype, only 17 new aberrations were identified, whereas 153 new aberrations were detected by M-FISH in 42 patients with a previously unsolved karyotype. In total, 112 of the new aberrations were unbalanced translocations, and only nine were balanced translocations. A clustering of breakpoints was observed in the centromeric or pericentromeric region of chromosomes 1, 5, 7, 13, 17, 21, and 22 in 48 of 98 patients with t-MDS and t-AML and an abnormal karyotype, and was related to previous therapy with alkylating agents. In seven of eight patients with chromosome derivatives containing material from three or more chromosomes or having sandwichlike chromosomes, those made up of several small interchanging layers of material from two chromosomes showed mutations of TP53. M-FISH had little impact on the prognostic classification of t-MDS and t-AML, as only three patients changed prognostic groups as a result of M-FISH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.20145DOI Listing
April 2005

Mutations of AML1 are common in therapy-related myelodysplasia following therapy with alkylating agents and are significantly associated with deletion or loss of chromosome arm 7q and with subsequent leukemic transformation.

Blood 2004 Sep 13;104(5):1474-81. Epub 2004 May 13.

Department of Clinical Genetics, The Chromosome Laboratory, Section of Hematology/Oncology 4052, Juliane Marie Center, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.

The AML1 transcription factor is essential for normal hematopoiesis and is the target of several chromosomal translocations in acute leukemia. Acquired somatic AML1 mutations were recently demonstrated sporadically in de novo myelodysplasia (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) including a few cases of therapy-related disease (t-MDS/t-AML). We examined 140 patients with t-MDS or t-AML for AML1 mutations by direct sequencing. We identified 9 missense, 3 nonsense, and 10 frameshift mutations, all heterozygous, in 22 patients (15.7%). Thirteen mutations were located in the N-terminal Runt homology domain (RHD), whereas 9 mutations were located in the C-terminal region including the transactivation domain (TAD). Nineteen patients with AML1 mutations had previously received alkylating agents whereas 2 patients had received radiotherapy only. AML1 mutations were highly significantly associated with presentation of the disease as t-MDS (P =.003), with deletion or loss of chromosome arm 7q (P =.001) and with subsequent transformation to overt t-AML (P =.0001). Patients with missense mutations presented a shorter survival compared with patients with nonsense/frameshift mutations (P =.03). Our results suggest that AML1 mutations and deletion of genes on chromosome arm 7q cooperate in leukemogenesis and predispose to leukemic transformation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2004-02-0754DOI Listing
September 2004

Genetic pathways in therapy-related myelodysplasia and acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2002 Mar;99(6):1909-12

Cytogenetic Laboratory, Section 4052, Rigshospitalet, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.

Therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML) in most cases develops after chemotherapy of other malignancies and shows characteristic chromosome aberrations. Two general types of t-AML have previously been identified. One type is observed after therapy with alkylating agents and characteristically presents as therapy-related myelodysplasia with deletions or loss of the long arms of chromosomes 5 and 7 or loss of the whole chromosomes. The other type is observed after therapy with topoisomerase II inhibitors and characteristically presents as overt t-AML with recurrent balanced chromosome aberrations. Recent research suggests that these 2 general types of t-AML can now be subdivided into at least 8 genetic pathways with a different etiology and different biologic characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.v99.6.1909DOI Listing
March 2002