Biology and management of transient abnormal myelopoiesis (TAM) in children with Down syndrome.
Roy A., Roberts I., Vyas P.
Children with Down syndrome (DS) have an increased risk of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (ML-DS), particularly megakaryoblastic leukaemia, which is clonally -related to the neonatal myeloproliferative syndrome, Transient Abnormal Myelopoiesis (TAM) unique to infants with DS. Molecular, biological, and clinical data indicate that TAM is initiated before birth when fetal liver haematopoietic cells trisomic for chromosome 21 acquire mutations in GATA1. TAM usually resolves spontaneously by 6 months; however 20-30% subsequently develop ML-DS harbouring the same GATA1 mutation(s). This review focuses on recent studies describing haematological, clinical and biological features of TAM and discusses approaches to diagnose, treat and monitor minimal residual disease in TAM. An important unanswered question is whether ML-DS is always preceded by TAM as it may be clinically and possibly haematologically 'silent'. We have briefly discussed the role of population-based screening for TAM and development of treatment strategies to eliminate the preleukaemic TAM clone, thereby preventing ML-DS.