Peripheral blood cell preparation from 23 normal subjects and 72 patients with acute and 32 patients with chronic myeloid leukemia were cultured in vitro and released plasminogen activators were analyzed. The quantity of plasminogen activator secreted by leukemic cells varied widely and could not be correlated with the clinical severity of the disease. Immunochemical and electrophoretic techniques have been used to show that normal peripheral blood granulocytes released exclusively urokinase-like plasminogen activator, whereas leukemic cells secreted either urokinase or a tissue activator-like enzyme. The molecular species of enzyme released by acute myeloid leukemic cells may serve as a diagnostic marker of relevance to the management of this disease, since patients with acute myeloid leukemia whose cells released only tissue plasminogen activator did not respond to combination chemotherapy. Tissue plasminogen activators released by leukemic cells may display an unusual electrophoretic pattern that resembles that shown by urokinase. Immunochemical procedures are therefore essential for the correct identification of these enzymes.

This content is only available as a PDF.