We analyzed the clinical and laboratory features of eight children (median age, 20 months; range, 13 months to 11 years) with acute megakaryocytic leukemia (M7) and compared the findings with those reported in the literature. The diagnosis was supported by ultrastructural examination for platelet peroxidase or immunophenotyping for glycoprotein IIb/IIIa or the von Willebrand factor protein. Two patients had Down's syndrome. Initial findings included anemia (in all patients), thrombocytopenia (in six), myelofibrosis (in three), lytic bone lesions (in two), and pronounced leukocytosis (in one). Stem cell culture studies of peripheral blood specimens revealed an aberrant phenotype of the megakaryocytes in one patient and reversal to a normal pattern after successful therapy. Remission was achieved in seven of the eight patients after aggressive chemotherapy, and four patients remained in remission 27 to 57 months after diagnosis. Three of these four patients underwent allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. M7 leukemia is not infrequent in children younger than 3 years of age, especially in those with Down's syndrome. The availability of monoclonal antibodies specific to restricted antigens of the megakaryocytic lineage has made the diagnosis of M7 leukemia both possible and practical.
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