The expression of three distinct myeloid-specific cell surface antigens detected by monoclonal antibodies (PMN 6, PMN 29, and AML-2–23) on acute and chronic myeloid leukemia cells is correlated with blast cell morphology and normal myeloid cell antigen display. In studies on normal peripheral blood cells, monoclonal antibodies PMN 6 and PMN 29 have previously been shown to react exclusively with neutrophils while AML-2–23 reacts with both neutrophils and monocytes. The present report demonstrates that these antigens are absent from blast cells of patients with acute myelocytic leukemia (AML) classified as M1 and M2 in the French-American-British system and chronic myelocytic leukemia in myeloid blast crisis. However, leukemia cells with myelomonocytic morphology (M4) expressed all three antigens, while cells with pure monocytic features (M5) were generally only positive for AML-2–23. Based on the absence of these antigens on both leukemic and normal myeloblasts and granulocyte-monocyte progenitors and their characteristic patterns of display on more differentiated leukemic and normal cells, we propose a modified concept of normal myelopoiesis. In this hypothesis, the myeloblast is an uncommitted cell that gives rise to a series of intermediate precursors that acquire committment to either the granulocytic or monocytic lineage marked by the acquisition of specific cell surface markers.

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