Ki-1 is a monoclonal antibody (raised against a Hodgkin's disease- derived cell line) that, in biopsy tissue affected by Hodgkin's disease, reacts selectively with Reed-Sternberg cells. The expression of Ki-1 antigen has been analyzed by immunocytochemical techniques in a wide range of human tissue and cell samples, including fetal tissue, malignant lymphomas (290 cases), and mitogen- and virus-transformed peripheral blood lymphocytes. The antigen was detectable on a variable proportion of cells in all cases of lymphomatoid papulosis and angio- immunoblastic lymphadenopathy and in 28% of the cases of peripheral T cell lymphomas (including lympho-epithelioid lymphomas). It was also expressed (more strongly) on tumor cells in 45 cases of diffuse large- cell lymphoma, most of which had originally been diagnosed as malignant histiocytosis or anaplastic carcinoma, because of their bizarre morphology. However, all of these cases lacked macrophage and epithelial antigens. Thirty-five cases expressed T cell-related antigens (associated in nine cases with the coexpression of B cell- related antigens), seven bore B cell-related antigens alone, and three were devoid of T and B cell markers. DNA hybridization with a JH specific probe showed a germline configuration in 11 cases of T cell phenotype, in two cases lacking T and B cell antigens, and in one case of mixed T/B phenotype, while rearrangement was found in two cases of clear B cell type and in one mixed T/B case. Expression of the Ki-1 antigen could be induced, together with interleukin 2 (IL 2) receptor, on normal lymphoid cells of both T and B cell type by exposure to phytohemagglutinin, human T leukemia viruses, Epstein-Barr virus, or Staphylococcus aureus. The results obtained indicate that Ki-1 antigen is an inducible lymphoid-associated molecule that identifies a group of hitherto poorly characterized normal and neoplastic large lymphoid cells. Tumors comprised solely of these cells show both morphological and immunological similarities to the neoplastic cells in Hodgkin's disease. This suggests that both disorders represent the neoplastic proliferation of activated lymphoid cells of either T cell or, less commonly, B cell origin. Disorders in which only a minority of cells express Ki-1 antigen (lymphomatoid papulosis, angio-immunoblastic lymphadenopathy, and certain T cell lymphomas) probably represent lesions in which only some of the abnormal cells have transformed into an “activation state.” In direct support of this view is the finding that the Ki-1 expression in these lesions is accompanied by the expression of HLA-DR and IL 2 receptors.

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