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SAW Fadilah, SK Cheong
Correspondence: Dr Fadilah S-Adul Wahid
A 37-year-old Malay man presented initially with the clinical picture of essential thrombocythaemia (ET) without the extreme leukocytosis, marked splenomegaly and low neutrophil alkaline phosphatase characteristic of chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML). Bone marrow examination showed massive megakaryocytic hyperplasia; cytogenetic studies showed the presence of Philadelphia chromosome. The patient was treated with hydroxyurea that resulted in reduction in the platelet count. Seventeen months later, he presented with fever associated with tender massive splenomegaly. Bone marrow finding was consistent with chronic phase CML. The presence of a rearrangement involving the major breakpoint cluster region (M-bcr) on chromosome 22 was confirmed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The clinical importance of finding the Philadelphia chromosome in patients who seem to have ET is in assessing prognosis. ET generally follows a chronic, indolent course. However, this patient who had Philadelphia chromosome underwent clinical transition to chronic phase CML17 months and blast crisis 29 months after presentation.
Keywords: Chronic myelogenous leukaemia, essential thrombocythaemia, Philadelphia chromosome, BCR- ABL fusion protein
Singapore Med J 2000; 41(12): 595-598