Chronic lymphocytic leukemia and prolymphocytic leukemia of the B-cell immunophenotype are closely related disorders, but differ in their cytomorphologic and clinical features. In an attempt to differentiate further between these two forms of leukemia, we measured adenosine deaminase and purine nucleoside phosphorylase activities by using a linked-enzyme spectrophotometric assay on peripheral-blood leukemic cells from seven patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, three patients with prolymphocytic leukemia, and one patient with prolymphocytoid transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. By using discriminant analysis, we were able to distinguish the two groups only on the basis of purine nucleoside phosphorylase activity (F1,9; p<0.001). The purine nucleoside phosphorylase activity in leukemic cells with prolymphocytic cytomorphology was significantly elevated (mean = 58.6 nM/min/mg protein) compared to the activity in leukemic cells with lymphocytic cytomorphology (mean = 25.6 nM/min/mg protein). There was only one patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who was assigned to the prolymphocytic leukemia group on the basis of her purine nucleoside phosphorylase activity. Our study suggests that purine nucleoside phosphorylase activity in leukemic cells may be useful in the distinction of prolymphocytic leukemia from chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and that it may be an enzymatic marker for the early detection of prolymphocytoid transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
- Adenosine deaminase
- lymphocytic leukemia
- purine nucleoside phosphorylase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research