Adhesion molecule expression, clinical features and therapy outcome in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

A. Mengarelli, D. Zarcone, R. Caruso, C. Tenca, I. Rana, R. M. Pinto, C. E. Grossi, G. De Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In view of the relevance of adhesion molecule expression for the mechanisms of homing, trafficking and spreading of malignant cells, we have investigated the expression of surface adhesion molecules in lymphoblasts from 57 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases and tried to correlate the adhesive phenotype with immunological typing, prognostic factors at diagnosis and clinical follow-up. Blasts from all cases expressed adhesion molecules at high rates. β1 integrin chain (CD18) was consistently found on blasts from most ALL cases; among integrins of the β2 family, LFA-1 was detected in 58% of cases, in the virtual absence of other α chains. CD54 and CD58 were expressed in variable proportions by ALL blasts and CD44 was detected in the majority of the malignant cells, whereas the CD62L selectin was only present in 24% of cases. B-lineage ALL's displayed similar adhesion molecule phenotypes irrespective of maturational stages of the leukemic cells. We found a significantly reduced expression of β2 αL integrins in the hybrid ALL cases (CD13 and/or CD33 positive). However, these cases did not show differences in clinical presentation and behaviour in comparison with patients of other groups. We did not find a significant correlation between adhesion molecule expression and well established risk factors (age, white blood cell count, central nervous system involvement, chromosomal abnormalities), with the exception of splenomegaly, that was significantly associated with CD18 expression. In the follow-up, no evidence of significant correlation between adhesive phenotype and adverse events such as leukemic relapse and death was found. In conclusion, although expression of adhesion molecules on lymphoblasts confirms the phenotypic heterogeneity of ALL, it appears that this is not relevant for the clinical aspects of the disease and for prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-630
Number of pages6
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Adhesive immunophenotype
  • B-lineage childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Hybrid acute leukemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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