Morphologic distinction of leukemic lymphoblasts in B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) from their nonneoplastic counterparts in bone marrow (hematogones) can be difficult. Thus, the presence of aberrant antigen expression detectable by flow cytometry may be critical for diagnosis of B-ALL and detection of minimal residual disease. The current study examined the immunophenotype of B-lineage leukemic lymphoblasts in 200 consecutive, unique, pretreatment patient specimens. We found that all cases of B-ALL exhibited multiple immunophenotypic aberrancies by which they can be distinguished from hematogones. The most frequent aberrancies were uniform or a spectrum of expression of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase and CD34, underexpression of CD45, overexpression of CD10, underexpression of CD38, and underexpression of CD20. Asynchronous coexpression of CD34 and CD20 was also frequently observed. Of the 200 cases, 86.5% expressed myeloid-associated antigens, and 19.0% expressed 3 or more. Of 200 cases, 9.0% aberrantly expressed T cell-associated antigens. There were significant differences in antigen-expression patterns between adult and pediatric B-ALL. Specific aberrancies correlate with recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities in B-ALL.
- Flow cytometry
- Immunophenotypic aberrancy
- Lymphoblastic leukemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine