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Am J Clin Pathol. 2004 Jun;121(6):810-5.

Nonpositive terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase in pediatric precursor B-lymphoblastic leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, USA.

Abstract

Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) is a unique intranuclear DNA polymerase that catalyzes the template-independent addition of deoxynucleotides to the 3'-hydroxyl terminus of oligonucleotide primers. The expression of TdT is restricted to lymphoid precursors. It is a useful marker in distinguishing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)from mature lymphoid neoplasms. Although TdT- T-cell ALL has been reported in the literature rarely, the frequency and significance of TdT-nonpositive (TdT(np) B-cell ALL have not been examined extensively. We reviewed the immunophenotypes of 186 new cases of pediatric B-cell ALL and found 5 TdT(np) cases (2.7%). They showed significantly higher frequencies of a WBC count of more than 50,000/microL (> 50.0 x 10(9)/L), CD10-, CD34-, and MLL gene rearrangement compared with those in TdT+ cases (3/5 [60%] vs 27/181 [14.9%], P = .03; 3/5 [60%] vs 11/181 [6.1%], P = .003; 4/5 [80%] vs 24/179 [13.4%], P = .002; 3/5 [60%] vs 9/181 [5.0%], P = .0019; respectively). These results indicate that nonpositive TdT does not rule out a diagnosis of ALL and suggest that TdT(np) B-cell ALL might be associated with CD10- and CD34- disease, a high WBC count, and MLL gene rearrangement.

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