Detection of membrane markers and ultrastructural peroxidase activity was carried out on the blasts of 16 apparently nonmyeloid adult acute leukemias. These patients were selected from 73 adult leukemic patients by the negativity of their routine cytochemical myeloid markers: i.e., myeloperoxidase, chloresterase activity, and Sudan Black B staining. B and T acute lymphoid leukemias (ALL) were excluded from the study. After concurrent testing from human T lymphocyte antigen (HuTLA), common ALL antigen (cALL), la-like antigens, and peroxidase activity at the electron microscopic level (POEM), only two patients remained undifferentiated (cALL-, POEM-). The other cases were classified as following : 6 common ALL (cALL+, POEM-), 1 pre-T-ALL (cALL+, HuTLA+, POEM-), 5 very poorly differentiated acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) (cALL-, POEM+), and 2 mixed leukemias (cALL+, POEM+). Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase activity (TdT) was measured in 7 cases and was found to be present at high levels in 4 cases of cALL and in the 2 cases of acute undifferentiated leukemias (AUL): it was absent in two cases of AML. Cytogenetic analysis had showed that 2 of the cALLs, 3 of the AMLs, and the 2 mixed leukemias were PH1+. We conclude that POEM detection is useful in apparently nonmyeloid leukemias with negative immunologic lymphoid markers, and that the existence of a Ph1 chromosome should be investigated, particularly in the unusual case of mixed (lymphoid-myeloid) acute leukemia.

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