The ETV6 gene is a frequent target of chromosomal translocations in both myeloid and lymphoid leukemias. At present, more than 40 distinct translocations have been cytogenetically described, of which 13 have now also been characterized at the molecular level. The homeobox gene GSH2
at 4q11-q12 and the IL-3/CSF2 locus at 5q31 were found to be located close to the respective breakpoints. In addition, GSH2 and IL-3 were found to be ectopically expressed in the leukemic cells, suggesting that expression of GSH2 and IL-3 was deregulated by the translocation. Besides the generation of fusion transcripts, deregulation of the expression of oncogenes could be a variant leukemogenic mechanism for translocations involving the 5' end of ETV6, especially for those translocations lacking functionally significant fusion transcripts.