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Br J Haematol. 1985 Feb;59(2):277-96.

Characterization of blast cells in chronic granulocytic leukaemia in transformation, acute myelofibrosis and undifferentiated leukaemia. I. Ultrastructural morphology and cytochemistry.


A systematic analysis of the blast cell population was carried out on samples from 50 patients suffering from blast transformation of chronic granulocytic leukaemia (CGL) (31) and of myelofibrosis (4), acute myelofibrosis (AM) (11) and undifferentiated acute leukaemia (4). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), used in 41 samples, included: morphology and techniques for myeloperoxidase (MPO), platelet-peroxidase (PPO) and acid phosphatase (AP). The majority of cases were also studied by light microscopy cytochemistry and with a battery of cell markers which are reported in the accompanying paper (San Miguel et al, 1985). The characterization of the type(s) of proliferating blasts was made from the integration of ultrastructural and immunological data. TEM morphology allowed the precise recognition of specific granules in basophil and mast-cell precursors and of ferritin particles in blasts of erythroid lineage; these rare cell types were not adequately characterized by other methods. The PPO reaction made possible the identification of pure megakaryoblastic proliferations in 38% of cases, including eight of the 11 with AM; megakaryoblasts were also present in nine of 12 cases with mixed blast cell types. The MPO and AP reactions were useful for the characterization of myeloblasts and monoblasts, respectively. Lymphoblasts could be distinguished from other cell types by TEM morphology and negative MPO and PPO reactions. TEM techniques were valuable for diagnosing correctly the type of blast cell in this study in which only four cases (8%) remained unclassifiable.

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