Patients with thrombocytopenia 5 have an autosomal dominant disorder of decreased platelet number with tendency to bleed, usually presenting in childhood, and have been found to have germline mutations in ETV6, which encodes a master hematopoietic transcription factor. Some patients who present similarly have inherited mutations in RUNX1 or ANKRD26. All three germline syndromes are also associated with a predisposition to myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute leukemia (AL). Since the first description of germline ETV6 mutations, 18 families have been reported. The common phenotype is mild to moderate thrombocytopenia with a variable predisposition to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and MDS. This review will focus upon the role of ETV6 in hematopoiesis, especially in myeloid differentiation and maturation, and will describe the functional effects of mutant ETV6. The review will also provide an overview of common clinical features as well as recommendations for patient screening and follow-up and will debate whether additional clinical features should be included with the germline ETV6 syndrome.
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