T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL/LBL) is a rare acute leukemia that expresses cytoplasmic CD3 (cCD3) and frequently lacks surface CD3. Given that routine flow cytometric testing for cCD3 may not be feasible and cCD3 interpretation may be difficult, we investigate if surface CD2 and/or CD7 expression on blasts can be used by flow cytometry to screen for T-lineage acute leukemia. We retrospectively reviewed flow cytometric data from 233 acute leukemias (36 T-ALL/LBL, 8 mixed-phenotype acute leukemia T/myeloid, 80 acute myeloid leukemia, 97 B-ALL/LBL, 8 mixed-phenotype acute leukemia B/myeloid, and 4 acute undifferentiated leukemia cases). Uniform expression (≥75% of blasts) of CD2 and/or CD7 was seen in all 44 cCD3-positive cases but in only 11% (20/189) of cCD3-negative acute leukemias, thus demonstrating 100% sensitivity and 89% specificity in the identification of cCD3-positive (T-lineage) acute leukemia. To avoid selection bias, we prospectively studied 232 consecutive acute leukemias for which cCD3, CD2, and CD7 were automatically performed in all cases. Similar to the retrospective study, uniform expression of CD2 and/or CD7 on blasts showed 100% sensitivity and 88% specificity in the screening for cCD3-positive (T-lineage) acute leukemia. Therefore, acute leukemias with uniform expression of CD2 and/or CD7 warrant further testing for cCD3 to evaluate for T-lineage acute leukemia. Blasts that lack both uniform CD2 and CD7 expression do not require additional cCD3 testing. We propose that CD2 and CD7 could be utilized in a limited antibody flow cytometry panel as a sensitive, robust, and cost-effective way to screen for T-lineage acute leukemia.
- Flow cytometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine