Geographic/ethnic variability of chromosomal and molecular abnormalities in leukemia

In 1963, Jean Bernard, a French hematologist, opened a new chapter in hematology called geographic hematology (‘Hématologie Géographique’). He distinguished two research avenues. One dealt with the differences between the various populations (ethnic hematology), the other with various environmental factors (environmental hematology). In recent years, focus has been put on analyzing the genetic susceptibility in cancer and hematological malignancies, particularly in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, using specific gene or (genome-wide association study) approach. However, almost 30 years ago, it was suggested by a few workers that chromosomal abnormalities observed in leukemia could have a geographic and/or ethnic distribution. In this review, we analyze the literature on chromosomal and molecular abnormalities in several types of leukemia.