Minimally differentiated erythroleukaemia (AML M6 'variant'): a rare subset of AML distinct from AML M6. Groupe Français d'Hématologie Cellulaire

Br J Haematol. 1995 Aug;90(4):868-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.1995.tb05208.x.


We describe eight cases of erythroleukaemia distinct from FAB-AML M6, which demonstrate minimal erythroid differentiation not associated with a myeloblastic component. Three infants (including a Down's syndrome) and two adults presented with a de novo leukaemia. One case was preceded by an untreated refractory anaemia with excess of blasts and one by polycythaemia vera. One case presented with an inaugural blast crisis of chronic myeloid leukaemia. In four patients the leukaemic cells showed a proerythroblast-like morphology. The four other were initially classified as undifferentiated AL (two cases) or AML MO (two cases) because of the immature aspect of the cells, their lack of myeloperoxidase activity and the absence of B, T lymphoid and myeloid (My) marker expressions apart from the CD33 antigen. Immunophenotyping in three cases showed an immature erythroblast profile (glycophorins A and B+, spectrin+). In the five others the erythroid nature was recognized by the expression of ABH blood group system on fresh cells (four cases) and glycophorin A on cells after 3 d in vitro culture with erythropoietin (EPO) + IL3 (two cases). Moreover, an erythroid colony growth of leukaemic origin was observed in three patients. In conclusion, the study of erythroid marker expression is of particular importance when immunophenotyping leukaemic cells with a proerythroblast-like morphology or an undifferentiated aspect and a HLA DR-, CD36++, B-, T-, My- (CD33 +/-) phenotype. We propose the term AML M6 'variant' for this rare type of AML.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Erythroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Infant
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute / classification
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / classification
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured