Granulocytic sarcoma is associated with the 8;21 translocation in acute myeloid leukemia

M. S. Tallman*, D. Hakimian, J. M. Shaw, G. S. Lissner, E. J. Russell, D. Variakojis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Purpose: Since the only three cases of granulocytic sarcoma among patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) seen at our institution during the last 12 years were each associated with the 8;21 translocation [t(8;21)], we sought to determine if this association is specific and more frequent than previously recognized. Patients and Methods: We report three patients with AML and t(8;21) who developed granulocytic sarcomas, and review the world literature. Results: Between 1980 and 1992, 53 cases of AML French-American- British (FAB) M2 were identified at our institution. Eight (15%) patients had t(8;21). Three of these eight patients (38%) developed granulocytic sarcoma. All three of our patients received conventional intensive antileukemic chemotherapy yet had short relapse-free survival durations. Several series of patients with t(8;21) report that granulocytic sarcomas occur in approximately 18% of this population, which is four times the expected incidence in AML. Thirty-seven cases have been previously reported. Although karyotype analyses were not reported in many cases of granulocytic sarcoma in the literature, the vast majority of abnormal karyotypes in patients with AML involved t(8;21). Recent work with a cell line derived from a patient with t(8;21) indicates that such cells are unusually adherent to culture bottles and are aggregable. Conclusion: Our data suggest that this association is more common than generally recognized and may be specific. Patients with t(8;21) should be observed closely for signs and symptoms of granulocytic sarcoma. These patients may have a less favorable prognosis than other patients with t(8;21). Cooperative oncology groups should retrospectively identify patients with AML and t(8;21) who had a poor outcome to determine if they had a disproportionate incidence of granulocytic sarcoma. If so, aggressive therapy such as bone marrow transplantation may be warranted early in the therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-697
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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