Thirty-two cases of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) were examined for expression of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) and rearrangements of the genes coding for the immunoglobulin heavy chain and the beta chain of the T cell receptor, in order to establish whether these two forms of lineage infidelity are linked. In 17 cases of AML with ≥ 10% TdT+ cells, three cases showed evidence of gene rearrangement, two having clonal rearrangements in the immunoglobulin gene and one with a rearranged T cell receptor gene. Among 15 AML cases without significant numbers of TdT-positive blasts, three cases had rearrangements in both immunoglobulin and T cell receptor genes, while a fourth case had an immunoglobulin gene rearrangement. No relationship was seen between lymphoid gene rearrangements and expression of the lymphoid surface antigens CD7 and CD10. The lack of association between TdT expression and gene rearrangements does not support the concept of an orderly activation of the recombinase machinery in those cases of AML with features of early lymphoid differentiation.
- acute myeloid leukaemia
- gene rearrangements
- immunoglobulin T cell receptor
- lineage infidelity
- Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase