Accumulation of high levels of methotrexate polyglutamates in lymphoblasts from children with hyperdiploid (>50 chromosomes) B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A Pediatric Oncology Group study

Academic Article


  • Hyperdiploidy (>50 chromosomes, or a DNA index >1.16) confers a favorable prognosis in B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia of childhood. Children with B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia whose lymphoblasts at diagnosis accumulate high levels of methotrexate (MTX) and MTX polyglutamates (MTXPGs) in vitro experience a better event-free survival than those whose lymphoblasts do not (Blood 76:44, 1990). Lymphoblasts from 13 children with hyperdiploidy (>50 chromosomes) accumulated high levels of MTX-PGs (1,095 and 571 to 2,346 pmol/109 cells [median and 25% to 75% intraquartile range]). These levels were higher than those in B-lineage lymphoblasts from 19 children with other aneuploidy (326 and 159 to 775 pmol/109 cells) and 15 children with diploidy (393 and 204 to 571 pmol/109 cells) (P = .0015). Chromosomal trisomies in hyperdiploid cases were highly nonrandom. Chromosome 9 was not one of the chromosomes involved in trisomies, even though this chromosome contains the gene for folate polyglutamate synthetase, which is the enzyme required for MTXPG synthesis. The correlation between MTXPG level and percentage of S-phase cells was weak, suggesting that increased levels of MTXPGs could not be attributed to elevated proportions of cells in active DNA synthesis. The ability of hyperdiploid lymphoblasts to accumulate high levels of MTXPGs may increase their sensitivity to MTX cytotoxicity, accounting in part for the improved outlook for hyperdiploid patients treated with regimens that emphasize MTX as a primary component of continuation therapy.
  • Published In

  • Blood  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Whitehead VM; Vuchich MJ; Lauer SJ; Mahoney D; Carroll AJ; Shuster JJ; Esseltine DW; Payment C; Look AT; Akabutu J
  • Start Page

  • 1316
  • End Page

  • 1323
  • Volume

  • 80
  • Issue

  • 5