Two hundred consecutive new patients, with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) have been studied with a battery of five cell marker assays to determine if a classification system with prognostic significance can be developed; 182 have been classified among four groups as follows: 33 T-cell, 3 B-cell, 126 common, and 20 undifferentiated ALLs. Patients with T-cell disease are likely to have unfavorable clinical prognostic features and a poor response to therapy. Rare patients with B-cell disease are closely related clinically to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Those with common ALL infrequently have unfavorable clinical features and have a superior outcome to that of T-cell patients. Children with undifferentiated markers seem to respond less well to treatment than do those with common ALL, yet may not be identifiable as poor risk by clinical features. What remains to be resolved with further observation is whether these marker patterns are more reliable indicators of prognosis than the usual clinical determinants predisposing to treatment failure (high white blood cell count, mediastinal mass, and central nervous system disease). At the present time, it appears that in the absence of poor-risk clinical prognostic features, patients with common ALL are more likely to have lasting remissions than those with erythrocyte-rosette-positive T-cell disease or those with ALL that is undifferentiated by markers.
Presented at the Conference on Cell Markers in Acute Leukemia, March 4 and 5, 1980, Bethesda, Md. Supported by Cancer Center Support (CORE) Grant CA-21765 from the National Cancer Institute, by Leukemia Program Project Grant CA-20180 and by American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities.