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Dermatoglyphics in childhood leukaemia: a guide to prognosis and aetiology?

By M. Till, S. Larrauri and P. G. Smith


The results of analysis of the dermatoglyphics of 152 children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) (and the first-degree relatives of 54 of them) contrast with those of 31 children with acute myeloblastic leukaemia (AML) (and the first-degree relatives of 25 of them). In ALL our findings suggest that neither genetic susceptibility nor an environmental factor, effective during the early antenatal period, is of aetiological importance; but the response to treatment, assessed as length of first remission, was found to be related to the amount of fingertip pattern. This may have clinical application. In AML there is evidence of a genetically determined factor carrying a high risk of the development of the disease, in that a member of each of 5 different families of the 25 studied bore a rare hypothenar pattern, compared with none in 75 control families. No dermatoglyphic features were of prognostic significance in AML

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