High-level expression of the cytokine receptor-like factor 2 gene, CRLF2, in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (pB-ALL) was shown to be caused by a translocation involving the IGH@ locus or a deletion juxtaposing CRLF2 with the P2RY8 promoter. To assess its possible prognostic value, CRLF2 expression was analyzed in 555 childhood pB-ALL patients treated according to the Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster 2000 (ALL-BFM 2000) protocol. Besides CRLF2 rearrangements, high-level CRLF2 expression was seen in cases with supernumerary copies of the CRLF2 locus. On the basis of the detection of CRLF2 rearrangements, a CRLF2 high-expression group (n = 49) was defined. This group had a 6-year relapse incidence of 31% plus or minus 8% compared with 11% plus or minus 1% in the CRLF2 low-expression group (P = .006). This difference was mainly attributable to an extremely high incidence of relapse (71% +/- 19%) in non-high-risk patients with P2RY8-CRLF2 rearrangement. The assessment of CRLF2 aberrations may therefore serve as new stratification tool in Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster-based protocols by identifying additional high-risk patients who may benefit from an intensified and/or targeted treatment.
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