We report a case of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) with telomeric associations and a p53 intronic point mutation. Karyotypic analysis revealed clonal and non-clonal telomeric associations, accompanied by clonal cytogenetic abnormalities and also in isolation. The p53 mutation, which occurred at the invariant base pair -2 of the splice acceptor site in intron 7 resulted in the abolition of correct splicing of exon 7 to exon 8. Multiple aberrant splice products were characterized, all of which differed from wildtype in the DNA binding domain. Fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrated that the clone retained two copies of the p53 gene and wild-type p53 transcript was detected on cloning of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) product, indicating that one wild-type allele remained. However, a plasmid clone with correct splicing at the exon 7/8 boundary, but with a 21 bp deletion in exon 8, was also found at low frequency. This finding indicates clonal evolution, resulting in complete loss of wild-type p53. The intronic point mutation was not present in DNA extracted from cervical tissue indicating that it was a leukaemic phenomenon. This is the first case of an intronic point mutation to be reported in CLL. This mutation led to chaotic p53 expression and, interestingly, occurred in a case showing telomeric associations, a rare phenomenon in B-CLL.
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