Heterogeneity in acute undifferentiated leukemia

A. LeMaistre, C. C. Childs, C. Hirsch-Ginsberg, J. Reuben, A. Cork, J. M. Trujillo, B. Andersson, K. B. McCredie, E. Freireich, S. A. Stass

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    From January 1985 to May 1987, we studied 256 adults with newly diagnosed acute leukemia. Acute undifferentiated leukemia (AUL) was diagnosed in 12 of the 256 (4.6%) cases when lineage could not be delineated by light microscopy and light cytochemistry. To further characterize the blasts, immunophenotyping, ultrastructural myeloperoxidase (UMPO), and ultrastructural platelet peroxidase parameters were examined in 10, 11, and 6 of the 12 cases, respectively. Five cases demonstrated UMPO and were reclassifed as acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML). Of the six UMPO-negative cases, three had a myeloid and one had a mixed immunophenotype. One UMPO-negative patient with a myeloid immunophenotype was probed for the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (J(H) and the beta chain of the T-cell receptor gene (Tcr(β)) with no evidence of rearrangement. Six cases were treated with standard acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) chemotherapy and failed to achieve complete remission (CR). Various AML chemotherapeutic regimens produced CR in only 3 of the 12 cases. One case was treated with γ interferon and the other 2 with high-dose Ara-C. Our findings indicate a myeloid lineage can be detected by UMPO (5/12) in some cases of AUL. A germline configuration with J(H) and Tcr(β) in one case as well as a myeloid immunophenotype in 3 UMPO-negative cases raises the possibility that myeloid lineage commitment may occur in the absence of myeloid peroxidase (MPO) cytochemical positivity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-90
    Number of pages11
    JournalHematologic Pathology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1988


    • Acute Disease
    • Adult
    • Aged
    • therapeutic use: Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Karyotyping
    • classification: Leukemia
    • Male
    • Microscopy, Electron
    • Middle Aged
    • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
    • Phenotype


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