Surface marker analysis and karyotype distinguish acute biphenotypic leukemia from acute myelogenous leukemia expressing terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase

Lynn C. Moscinski, Peter C. Nowell, James A. Hoxie, Mark S. Berger, Michael B. Prystowsky

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Surface phenotyping by flow cytometry and cytochemical study were used to identify 15 adult patients with acute leukemia displaying ambiguous phenotypes. Differences were found in the blast cell karyotype and immunoglobulin gene rearrangements of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)‐positive acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and biphenotypic leukemia expressing B lymphoid and myeloid markers. The karyotypic abnormalities, t(9;22) and t(4;11), were noticed in acute biphenotypic leukemia, and were consistently associated with rearrangement at the immunoglobulin locus. Furthermore, coexpression of CD19/CD20 and either myeloperoxidase or myeloid surface markers were predictive of finding the t(9;22) or t(4;11) karyotype. Patients with TdT‐positive AML, on the other hand, were less likely to show rearrangement at the immunoglobulin locus, and did not have the t(9;22) or t(4;11). Instead, a variety of nonrandom karyotypic abnormalities were seen, including trisomy 13. Unlike common AML, the majority of TdT‐positive cases demonstrated an abnormal karyotype with duplications and/ or deletions present in all cases. In no instance was trisomy 8, t(8;21), t(15;17), or any other isolated translocation identified. The authors therefore suggest that immunophenotyping, when combined with cytochemical analysis of TdT and myeloperoxidase or Sudan black B, may aid in the characterization of subgroups of atypical acute leukemia, such that alternate approaches to therapy can be evaluated. Cancer 68:2161–2168, 1991.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2161-2168
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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