Phenotypic and genotypic heterogeneity in infant acute leukemia. II. Acute nonlymphoblastic leukemia

Leukemia. 1989 Oct;3(10):708-14.


We have studied the immunophenotypic and genotypic characteristic of acute nonlymphoblastic leukemias (ANLL) in infants aged less than one year. Sixty-four percent of cases (16/25) showed a myeloid or myelomonocytic differentiation pattern and 10 of these were classified as FAB M5 (7 M5a, 3 M5b). Only seven of the latter cases expressed the CD14 antigen. Acute megakaryocytic leukemia with a high number of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa or IIIa positive blasts were identified in five patients. Erythroleukemia with a high percentage of rather mature glycophorin A positive erythroblasts were diagnosed in two infants. Cytogenetic studies were successfully performed in all 20 cases investigated. Abnormalities involving chromosome 11 were present in 10 of 17 patients with an abnormal karyotype including five cases with a t(9;11)(p21;q23). Immunoglobulin (Ig) and T cell receptor (TCR) gene analyses were performed in 20 patients. A rearrangement of Ig heavy chain sequences was detected in five cases (20%), one of whom exhibited multiple rearranged fragments. Three of these patients showed additional TCR delta-chain gene rearrangements, while Ig kappa, TCR beta- as well as TCR gamma-chain genes showed a germline configuration in all cases analyzed. Our study confirms the high incidence of myelomonocytic and monoblastic subtypes in infants with ANLL, which are particularly closely associated with chromosome 11 abnormalities. However, we also observed an unexpected high frequency of megakaryoblastic leukemias as well as erythroleukemias. As previously reported for ALL in infants, ANLL of infancy shows a similar heterogeneity regarding phenotypic and genotypic features.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Differentiation / analysis
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Female
  • Gene Rearrangement, T-Lymphocyte
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / immunology*
  • Male
  • Phenotype


  • Antigens, Differentiation