We studied the effects of the alkyl-lysophospholipid, 1-octadecyl-2-methyl-sn-glycerol-3-phosphocholine (ALP), on human leukemia cells from 56 patients with various leukemias and on normal bone marrow progenitors in order to assess the application of ALP as an in vitro marrow-purging agent. The tumorcidal activity was analyzed by the elimination of clonogenic leukemia cells (leukemic colony-forming cells), by the inhibition of the proliferative capacity ([3H]thymidine incorporation) of leukemia cells, and by the elimination of viable leukemia cells measured with flow cytometry. The tumoricidal activity of ALP was dose and incubation time related, as, although to a lesser extent, held true for normal marrow progenitors. For some leukemias the ALP dose necessary for the elimination of 100% of the leukemic colony-forming cells is probably too toxic for normal marrow cells. The results of this study strongly support the possibility that ALP is a promising purging agent in the majority of patients with leukemias.

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Supported by a grant from the Netherlands Cancer Foundation, “Koningin Wilhelmina Fonds” (UUKC 88-3).

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