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Familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA

Familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA

Reviewed May 2012

What is familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

Familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA is one form of a cancer of the blood-forming tissue (bone marrow) called acute myeloid leukemia. In normal bone marrow, early blood cells called hematopoietic stem cells develop into several types of blood cells: white blood cells (leukocytes) that protect the body from infection, red blood cells (erythrocytes) that carry oxygen, and platelets (thrombocytes) that are involved in blood clotting. In acute myeloid leukemia, the bone marrow makes large numbers of abnormal, immature white blood cells called myeloid blasts. Instead of developing into normal white blood cells, the myeloid blasts develop into cancerous leukemia cells. The large number of abnormal cells in the bone marrow interferes with the production of functional white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

People with familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA have a shortage of white blood cells (leukopenia), leading to increased susceptibility to infections. A low number of red blood cells (anemia) also occurs in this disorder, resulting in fatigue and weakness. Affected individuals also have a reduction in the amount of platelets (thrombocytopenia), which can result in easy bruising and abnormal bleeding. Other symptoms of familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA may include fever and weight loss.

While acute myeloid leukemia is generally a disease of older adults, familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA often begins earlier in life, and it has been reported to occur as early as age 4. Between 50 and 65 percent of affected individuals survive their disease, compared with 25 to 40 percent of those with other forms of acute myeloid leukemia. However, people with familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA have a higher risk of having a new primary occurrence of this disorder after successful treatment of the initial occurrence.

How common is familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

Acute myeloid leukemia occurs in approximately 3.5 in 100,000 individuals per year. Familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA is a very rare form of acute myeloid leukemia; only a few affected families have been identified.

What genes are related to familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

As its name suggests, familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA is caused by mutations in the CEBPA gene that are passed down within families. These inherited mutations are present throughout a person's life in virtually every cell in the body.

The CEBPA gene provides instructions for making a protein called CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha. This protein is a transcription factor, which means that it attaches (binds) to specific regions of DNA and helps control the activity of certain genes. It is believed to act as a tumor suppressor, helping to prevent cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or in an uncontrolled way.

CEBPA gene mutations that cause familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA result in a shorter version of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha. This shorter version is produced from one copy of the CEBPA gene in each cell, and it is believed to interfere with the tumor suppressor function of the normal protein produced from the second copy of the gene. Absence of the tumor suppressor function of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha is believed to disrupt the regulation of blood cell production in the bone marrow, leading to the uncontrolled production of abnormal cells that occurs in acute myeloid leukemia.

In addition to the inherited mutation in one copy of the CEBPA gene in each cell, most individuals with familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA also acquire a mutation in the second copy of the CEBPA gene. The additional mutation, which is called a somatic mutation, is found only in the leukemia cells and is not inherited. The somatic CEBPA gene mutations identified in leukemia cells generally decrease the DNA-binding ability of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha. The effect of this second mutation on the development of acute myeloid leukemia is unclear.

Read more about the CEBPA gene.

How do people inherit familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

Familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Autosomal dominant inheritance means that one copy of the altered CEBPA gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. Most affected individuals also acquire a second, somatic CEBPA gene mutation in their leukemia cells.

Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

These resources address the diagnosis or management of familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA and may include treatment providers.

You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA in Educational resources and Patient support.

General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.

To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

You may find the following resources about familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA helpful. These materials are written for the general public.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

  • CEBPA-dependent familial acute myeloid leukemia
  • familial acute myeloid leukaemia

For more information about naming genetic conditions, see the Genetics Home Reference Condition Naming Guidelines and How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.

What if I still have specific questions about familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?

What glossary definitions help with understanding familial acute myeloid leukemia with mutated CEBPA?

References (8 links)

 

The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

 
Reviewed: May 2012
Published: December 16, 2014