Does isochromosome 7q mandate bone marrow transplant in children with Shwachman–Diamond syndrome?


Joan Cunningham, Human Genetics Unit, Level 6, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, DD1 9SY, UK. E-mail:


Summary. We report on nine children with Shwachman–Diamond syndrome (SDS), eight of whom had clonal abnormalities of chromosome 7. Seven children had an isochromosome 7 [i(7)(q10)] and one a derivative chromosome 7, all with an apparently identical (centromeric) breakpoint. Children with SDS are predisposed to myelodysplasia (MDS) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) often with chromosome 7 abnormalities. Allogeneic transplants have been used to treat these children, however, they are a high-risk transplant group and require careful evaluation. Three of the children were transplanted but only one survived, who to our knowledge remains the longest surviving SDS transplant patient (4·5 years +). The six non-transplanted children are well. In classic MDS, chromosome 7 abnormalities are associated with rapid progression to acute leukaemia; however, we present evidence to suggest that isochromosome 7q may represent a separate disease entity in SDS children. This is a particularly interesting finding given that the SDS gene has recently been mapped to the centromeric region of chromosome 7. Our studies indicate that i(7)(q10) is a relatively benign rearrangement and that it is not advisable to offer allogeneic transplants to SDS children with i(7)(q10) alone in the absence of other clinical signs of disease progression.