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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Acute promyelocytic leukemia

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Your Question

My husband passed away rather suddenly from APL in 2009. I was reading that the translocation occurs after conception. I have two young boys and although I know it is not inherited, I would like to know if there is a way to test if the translocation has occurred.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is acute promyelocytic leukemia inherited?

Acute promyelocytic leukemia is not inherited. The condition arises from a translocation in some of the body's cells (somatic cells) that occurs after conception.[1] This is referred to as a somatic mutation. Somatic mutations may affect the individual by causing cancers or other diseases, but they are not passed on to offspring.[1]
Last updated: 2/6/2012

Is predictive genetic testing available for acute promyelocytic leukemia?

We were unable to locate information about the availability of predictive testing for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Predictive genetic testing is primarily an option for individuals at risk for inherited cancers and other inherited disorders; APL is not an inherited cancer. Predictive genetic tests are generally available if a close family member has had a genetic test which has identified a specific mutation that is associated with an inherited predisposition to cancer.[2] APL is caused by a somatic mutation which is acquired during a person's lifetime and is not passed on to children. Furthermore, it is not necessarily known when during a person's lifetime a somatic mutation might occur.

Individuals that are interested in learning more about predictive testing for a particular type of cancer should speak with a genetics professional.
Last updated: 2/6/2012

How can I find a genetics professional in my area?

Genetics clinics are a source of information for individuals and families regarding genetic conditions, treatment, inheritance, and genetic risks to other family members. More information about genetic consultations is available from Genetics Home Reference. To find a genetics clinic, we recommend that you contact your primary healthcare provider for a referral.

The following online resources can help you find a genetics professional in your community:
Last updated: 10/18/2013