Minimally differentiated acute myeloid leukemia (AML M0): Clinico-biological findings of 29 cases

Nicola Cascavilla, Lorella Melillo, Giovanni D'Arena, Michele Mario Greco, Angelo Michele Carella, Maria Rosaria Sajeva, Giovanni Perla, Rosella Matera, Maria Marta Minervini, Mario Carotenuto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Twenty-nine cases of minimally differentiated acute myeloid leukemia or AML M0 identified among 441 AML diagnosed in the last 12 years are reported. In all cases, flow cytometric analysis using a large panel of monoclonal antibodies and cytogenetic and molecular studies (IgH, TcRβ, BCR/ABL, AML1/ETO and CBFB-MYH11 rearrangements) were performed. Of the 29 patients, 27 were treated with intensive chemotherapy based on GIMEMA protocols. We noted a greater incidence of older (over 60 years) and male patients (52% and 65%, respectively). CD33, CD13, CD7 and TdT were expressed in 79.3%, 82.7%, 58.6% and 42.8% of cases, respectively. Antigenic MPO was present in 17 of 22 cases (77.3%). Most cases expressed CD34 (93.1.%), HLA-DR (93.1%), CD117 (80%) and CD45RA (87%). CD45RO and CD90 were consistently negative. In all cases, we observed an up-expression of bcl-2 and a down-expression of CD95 with an inverse trend between the two markers (r -5253; p 0.03). Karyotypic abnormalities were demonstrated in 53.6% of cases. Of these, 6 involved chromosomes 5, 7 and 8, t(9;22), confirmed by the BCR/ABL transcript, was detected in one case. Rearrangements of the TcRβ and IgH chains were observed in 3 and 2 cases, respectively. No AML1/ETO and CBFB-MYH11 transcripts were found. Twelve out of 27 patients (44%) achieved a complete remission (CR) (in 2 cases after rescue therapy). Seven early (range 1-9 months) and one late (32 months) relapses were observed. Five patients are alive, but only the 4 who underwent bone marrow transplantation are in persistent first CR. In conclusion, AML M0 is a subtype of AML antigenically well detectable, endowed with many adverse parameters (older age, TdT and CD34 expression, resistance to apoptosis, unfavorable cytogenetic abnormalities) and poor prognosis. A very aggressive consolidation treatment can be useful to improve the outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • AML M0
  • Biology
  • Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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