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Am J Hematol. 2002 Oct;71(2):80-4.

Clinical significance of serum neuron-specific enolase in patients with adult T-cell leukemia.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan.


The present study examines the clinical significance of serum neuron-specific enolase (NSE) in patients with adult T cell-leukemia (ATL). Serum NSE values were measured using a radioimmunoassay in 35 patients (acute type, n = 15; lymphoma type, n = 10; chronic type, n = 10) and in 7 controls carrying T lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1). Serum NSE values >10 ng/mL were detected in 9 of 15 patients with acute type (60%), 5 of 10 with lymphoma type (50%), and in one of 10 patients with chronic type (10%) ATL, but in none of the HTLV-1 carriers. Contrary to previous findings demonstrating that 20% of patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) had positive serum NSE, the frequency of a high NSE value in patients with acute and lymphoma type ATL was much higher (60% and 50%, respectively). The serum NSE value positively correlated with serum thymidine kinase activity (TK) and serum soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R) levels (P < 0.04 and P < 0.01, respectively). Serum NSE values at the initial diagnosis were adversely related to overall survival time according to the log-rank test (P < 0.02). Pathological examinations demonstrated that both patients with anaplastic large cell lymphoma type ATL had cytoplasmic NSE and CD30 markers on cell membranes. These findings suggest that serum NSE is partially produced by ATL cells and that ATL tumor cells seem preferentially produce NSE compared with other NHL cells. Serum NSE may be a novel marker of disease aggressiveness as well as a prognostic factor for ATL.

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