Membrane Phenotyping: Diagnosis, Monitoring and Classification of Acute ‘Lymphoid’ Leukaemias

  • M. F. Greaves
  • G. Janossy
  • M. Roberts
  • N. T. Rapson
  • R. B. Ellis
  • J. Chessels
  • T. A. Lister
  • D. Catovsky
Part of the Haematology and Blood Transfusion / Hämatologie und Bluttransfusion book series (HAEMATOLOGY, volume 20)


Many attempts have been made to produce human leukaemia specific antibodies in animal species (reviewed in 23, 17). As with other human malignancies, it has been generally assumed that malignant cells are likely to express unique antigens on their surface membrane. There is abundant evidence that transformed or neoplastic cells do indeed differ by multiple criteria from their presumed “normal” counterparts. However, when the appropriate controls are performed it is almost invariably found that the supposed tumour cell characteristic is in fact expressed by some normal cells at a particular stage of development or during a restricted phase of the cell cycle. This is true for “new” membrane antigens as well as “missing” membrane structures (e.g. the LETS protein, 31), general membrane properties (e.g. fluidity, clustering of lectin binding of glycoproteins), social (or anti-social) behaviour in vitro. Although expression of “foetal” type antigens may be a common occurrance in malignancy (9) it is becoming apparent that there is no general phenotypic manifestation of malignancy in individual cells which can provide an unequivocal diagnostic identification. In individual types of tumours or malignancies the best “markers” for malignancy or transformation may be major chromosomal alterations (e.g. Ph1 translocation in CML, 40, see also Hellriegel et al in this volume) or membrane antigens in the case of chemical carcinogen induced tumours in rodents (1) and TL (thymus-leukaemia) positive thymic leukaemias in TL- mouse strains (4).


Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Acute Leukaemia Human Leukaemia Blast Crisis Leukaemic Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. F. Greaves
    • 1
  • G. Janossy
    • 1
  • M. Roberts
    • 1
  • N. T. Rapson
    • 2
    • 3
  • R. B. Ellis
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. Chessels
    • 2
    • 3
  • T. A. Lister
    • 4
  • D. Catovsky
    • 5
  1. 1.Imperial Cancer Research FundMembrane Immunology GroupLondonUK
  2. 2.Departments of Haematology and Clinical GeneticsInstitute of Child HealthLondonUK
  3. 3.Departments of Haematology and Clinical GeneticsGt. Ormond Street Hospital for Sick ChildrenLondonUK
  4. 4.ICRF Medical Oncology UnitSt. Bartholomew’s HospitalLondonUK
  5. 5.MRC Leukaemia UnitHammersmith HospitalLondonUK

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