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Mod Pathol. 2006 Dec;19(12):1536-45. Epub 2006 Oct 13.

Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: The role of bone marrow biopsy immunohistology.

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  • 1Clarian Pathology Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5200, USA.


The World Health Organization criteria for diagnosing chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) are largely based on findings observed in the peripheral blood and bone marrow aspirate. A specific diagnostic role for the bone marrow biopsy has not been adequately explored. We examined whether bone marrow biopsy supplemented by immunohistochemistry may be helpful in distinguishing CMML from cases of chronic myelogenous leukemia and atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (aCML). We immunostained 25 cases of CMML with paraffin reactive antibodies which included CD68 (KP1), CD68R (PG-M1), and CD163, and compared the results with those observed in six cases of chronic myelogenous leukemia and in three cases of atypical CML. In addition, we examined whether CD34 immunohistochemistry could be useful in separating cases of CMML with less than 10% blasts (type-1) from cases of CMML with blasts accounting for 10-19% (type-2), and cases of CMML in acute transformation to acute myeloid leukemia (blasts > or = 20%). The presence of nodules of plasmacytoid monocytes was investigated by CD123 staining. CD42b was used to highlight abnormal megakaryocytes. Our results demonstrate significant differences between the groups. CD34 analysis allowed separating CMML type-1 from type-2 and the former from CMML in acute transformation. CD123-positive plasmacytoid monocyte nodules were found only in CMML and not in the other two disease groups. Overlap between CMML and the other two groups were observed with CD68 immunostaining. CD68R was more restricted to bone marrow macrophages and monocytes than CD68, but the differences between CMML and chronic myelogenous leukemia or atypical CML were still not significant. Although CD42b immunostaining facilitated the detection of dwarf megakaryocytes often present in CMML, the distinction between those and the small forms seen in chronic myelogenous leukemia was still problematic.

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