The biological characteristics of adult CD34+ acute promyelocytic leukemia.
The immunophenotypes of 12 acute promyelocytic leukemias (APL-M3; eight hypergranular, four microgranular) with documented PML-RAR-alpha fusion gene are presented. Bone marrow mononuclear cells were immunophenotyped using a panel of 20 monoclonal antibodies. The hypergranular APLs exhibited a mature myeloid phenotype as it has been described to be typical for M3. No lineage infidelity was detectable in classic M3 cases. In contrast, among the four cases of M3 variant, all leukemias showed marked expression of CD34 and two of four cases expressed the HLA-DR antigen. The CD2 antigen was expressed in three of four cases. Furthermore, one case showed expression of the CD56 antigen, and one case was positive for the blood group H antigen. The data suggest that microgranular APL is a heterogeneous entity with regard to the immunologic phenotype.