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The origins of ALK translocations
Vassilis Roukos1,Stephan Mathas2,3,4,*
1
Cell Biology of Genomes, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, 41 Library Drive, MD 20892, USA
2
Max-Delbruck-Center for Molecular Medicine, Robert-Roessle-Str. 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany
3
German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
4
European Research Initiative on ALK-related malignancies (ERIA)
DOI: 10.2741/S439 Volume 7 Issue 2, pp.260-268
Published: 01 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ALK: 20 years of discoveries)
*Corresponding Author(s):  
Stephan Mathas
E-mail:  
stephan.mathas@charite.de
Abstract

Translocations involving the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene locus on chromosome 2p23 were first described in anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Although most commonly fused to the nucleophosmin (NPM1) gene on chromosome 5q35, which results in the t(2;5)(p23;q35)/NPM1-ALK translocation, several other ALK translocation partners have meanwhile been identified. Furthermore, apart from ALCL, ALK-involving translocations have been described in other hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cancers. However, despite a rapid increase in literature on the nature and tissue distribution of ALK-translocations, much less is known about the mechanisms of formation of these translocations. The emergence of translocations has been linked to the transcriptional activity of the respective genome regions, reorganization of the chromatin and activation of the DNA repair machinery. In this review we discuss mechanisms and implications of formation of ALK-translocations.

Key words
Chromosomal translocation, ALK, Breakpoint, Lymphoma, Anaplastic, Review
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Vassilis Roukos, Stephan Mathas. The origins of ALK translocations. Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar. 2015. 7(2); 260-268.