gamma-Glutamyltranspeptidase (gamma-GT) is a plasma membrane-associated enzyme present in blasts of certain acute leukemias. We analyzed 90 cases of undifferentiated and differentiated acute leukemias for gamma- GT, using a colorimetric assay. Blasts of all patients with common acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and T-ALL were negative for gamma-GT (less than 5 units). In contrast, gamma-GT was significantly elevated in acute myeloblastic or monoblastic leukemia blasts (P less than .001). In 16 cases of acute undifferentiated leukemia (AUL) studied, the levels of gamma-GT ranged from 0 to 93 units; in eight cases, gamma- GT was positive (greater than 5 units), and six of these had 2% to 5% Sudan black-positive leukemic cells in the blast-enriched suspension. Combined gamma-GT/TdT analysis revealed that both enzyme markers were mutually exclusive in 75% of AUL cases, suggesting that gamma-GT+/TdT- blasts are of nonlymphoid origin, and gamma-GT-/TdT+ blasts are of lymphoid origin. Two cases were devoid of both enzyme activities and could represent truly undifferentiated leukemia. Thus, combined gamma- GT/TdT analysis underlines the heterogeneity of AUL and appears to be useful in defining the lineage commitment of undifferentiated leukemic blasts.