T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) accounts for 15% and 25% of total childhood and adult ALL cases, respectively. During T-ALL, patients are at risk of organ infiltration by leukemic T-cells. Infiltration is a major consequence of disease relapse and correlates with poor prognosis. Transendothelial migration of leukemic cells is required to exit the blood stream into target organs. While mechanisms of normal T-cell transmigration are well known, the mechanisms of leukemic T-cell extravasation remain elusive; but involvement of chemokines, integrins and Notch signaling play critical roles. Here, we summarize current knowledge about molecular mechanisms of leukemic T-cell infiltration with special emphasis on the newly identified subtype early T-cell-progenitor (ETP)-ALL. Furthermore, we compare the extravasation potential of T-ALL cells with that of other hematologic malignancies such as B-ALL and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Keywords: CXCL12; CXCR4; Central nervous system; Diapedesis; Endothelial transmigration; LFA-1; Selectin; T-cells; VLA-4.
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