Cytogenetic studies were done on the leukemia cells of two patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) who developed erythroleukemia (acute non-lymphocytic leukemia, French-American-British M6) after combined modality chemotherapy and radiotherapy for their lung cancer. Surprisingly, both erythroleukemias exhibited the del(3)(pl4p23) predominantly found in SCLC. In four other patients who had secondary erythroleukemias associated with other cancers, no deletions of 3p were found. These findings could be accounted for by one of three possible mechanisms: (a) an inherited recessive gene (anti-oncogene or tumor suppressor gene) in this region of 3p was uncovered by the combined modality therapy, (b) an inherited predisposition to damage of both chromosomes at 3pl4 leads to SCLC and erythroleukemia after exposure to carcinogens and/orchemotherapy-radiotherapy, or (c) the finding of lineage specificity for the 3p deletion with the presence of the 3p deletion in SCLC and erythroleukemia suggests a common bone marrow precursor. [J Natl Cancer Inst 1988;80:1253-1255].
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