Multienzymatic analyses of human malignant lymphomas. Correlation of enzymatic data with pathologic and ultrastructural findings in Burkitt's and lymphoblastic lymphomas

P. Vezzoni, R. Giardini, L. Lombardi, F. Rilke, R. Lucchini, M. A. Vezzoni, L. Clerici

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Enzyme activity measurements are of great relevance to the classification and biochemical charaterization of the various types of leukemias, but they have been much less studied in solid lymphoid tumors. The authors report investigations in human lymphomas. The levels of the following enzymes were determined: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT), deoxyribonucleic acid polymerase alpha (DP alpha), adenosine deaminase (ADA), purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP), thymidine and uridine kinases (TK and UK respectively. and thymidine phosphorylase (ThPh). Moreover, cytochemical investigations were done in the group of Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) and lymphoblastic lymphoma (LL), and ultrastructural studies were performed in seven of the nine LL of this series. These results were obtained (1) TdT (90 cases) was highly specific for LL; eight of nine LL were positive, and all other histologic types were negative; the only TdT-, acid esterase (AcE) positive, nonconvoluted LL was probably related to TdT- normal medullary thymocytes and had an unfavorable clinical course with resistance to a vincristine-and-prednisone-including treatment; (2) ADA (61 cases) could distinguish clearly between the high levels of LL and the low levels found in any other group of lymphomas; among LL, the highest values were found in T-cell-derived neoplasias, and the lowest value in a periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) positive, acid phosphatase negative case that showed the presence of large nuclei at the ultrastructural analysis, a finding that is unusual for LL and possibly related to a more immature differentiation stage; (3) PNP (39 cases) values alone were not clinically relevant, but together with ADA levels, a subset of T-LL with high ADA:PNP ratio could be selected among LL; (4) DP alpha (61 cases), and TK and UK (37 cases) were found in concentrations reflecting the malignancy of the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and were more elevated in the high-grade malignant lymphomas; (5) ThPh (34 cases) was always elevated in Hodgkin's disease, but low in Burkitt's lymphoma and LL, thus, they had a high TK:ThPh ratio that could be useful in predicting clinical response to thymidine treatment. The authors think that taken together, multiple enzyme determination could be useful in the characterization of human lymphomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-499
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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