Five cases of atypical lymphocytic leukemia were investigated with regard to their membrane-associated light chains. Detection and quantitation of antigenic determinants were performed by means of peroxidase-labeled antibodies according to Avrameas et al. The cases studied had clinical and cytologic features in common: an active clinical course, marked splenomegaly, severe anemia and thrombocytopenia, little or no lymph node enlargement, and very high white blood counts with small mature lymphocytes and poorly differentiated lymphoid cells. Blood lymphocytes of all patients carried a single type of light chain, and 90%-100% of the cells were stained. The average number of antigenic sites per cell was 72,500 (range 40,000–97,500). These results differed from those previously found in typical CLL (mean value 9000) and approached the values of normal peripheral blood lymphocytes (90,000). The criteria investigated in this study could be of value for the diagnosis and prognosis of some atypical forms of lymphocytic leukemia.

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