Clinical and cytogenetic data were analysed in 54 patients with acute non-lymphocytic leukaemias (ANLL) or MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes) and deletion of the long arm of chromosome 7 (7q−), in order to determine if there is a commonly deleted region in 7q and to establish possible correlations between karyotypic features, such as karyotype pattern, karyotype complexity, associated anomalies, and/or the type of deleted segments, and outcome of patients with these disorders.
The median follow-up of our patients was 4 months (range 1–89), as was the median survival. In 30% of the cases there was a history of preceding MDS or previous chemotherapy. Clinical and cytogenetic remission was obtained in 7/36 patients treated with chemotherapy (CT). At the time of 7q− detection, three patients previously treated with CT for ANLL were in clinical remission. 5q− was the most recurrent associated abnormality. Complex karyotypes were observed in 68% of the cases. In univariate analysis, statistical differences in survival were observed according to diagnosis (therapy-related and secondary diseases had a worse prognosis than primary disorders), the chromosomal segments deleted (the loss of band 7q32 was of poor prognostic value), the karyotype complexity (patients with single anomalies did better than patients with complex anomalies) and the response to therapy (patients who achieved complete remission had a better survival probability). In multivariate analysis, the loss of band 7q32 was found to be significantly related to very poor prognosis. This finding suggests that band 7q32 may contain critical genes that should be explored at the molecular level.