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Leuk Lymphoma. 1999 Jan;32(3-4):269-78.

Diagnosis of acute basophilic leukemia.

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Laboratoire d'Hématologie, Hopital Purpan, Toulouse, France.


De novo acute basophilic leukemia (ABL) is a rare form of acute leukemia. Most frequently, the blast cells are morphologically undifferentiated, and the recognition of the presence of coarse basophilic granules may be the first step in diagnosis of this rare disorder. These granules are metachromatic and MPO negative. Immunophenotyping shows myeloid markers and some more specifically associated antigens such as CD9 or CD25 which are strongly expressed. Lymphoid, erythroid or megakaryocytic markers are not significantly expressed. In the absence of basophilic granules, some cases are classified as AML M0 if they express myeloid markers, or undifferentiated leukemia if no markers are present. If specific immature basophilic or theta granules are present, only an electron microscopic study will enable the diagnosis of a basophilic lineage assignment. Some cases may be misdiagnosed if all these steps are not followed. After all these investigations, two types of ABL may be defined: 1-A pure ABL, monophenotypic with basophilic lineage involvement alone, which should be classified as AML M8 . Genetic studies in these cases are very important for understanding the leukemic process and in a few cases, we can suspect c-MYB oncogene involvement but further investigations are still necessary. 2- More frequently, acute leukemia can be a mixture of blasts from different lineages with an important but variable participation of mature or immature basophilic cells. These cases must be classified as AML/Baso or multiphenotypic acute leukemias and often present Phl -chromosomal abnormality.

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