Leu-9 (CD 7) positivity in acute leukemias: A marker of T-cell lineage?

J. Ben-Ezra, C. D. Winberg, A. Wu, H. Rappaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monoclonal antibody Leu-9 (CD 7) has been reported to be a sensitive and specific marker for T-cell lineage in leukemic processes, since it is positive in patients whose leukemic cells fail to express other T-cell antigens. To test whether Leu-9 is indeed specific for T-cell leukemias, we examined in detail 10 cases of acute leukemia in which reactions were positive for Leu-9 and negative for other T-cell-associated markers including T-11, Leu-1, T-3, and E-rosettes. Morphologically and cytochemically, 2 of these 10 leukemias were classified as lymphoblastic, 4 as myeloblastic, 2 as monoblastic, 1 as megakaryoblastic, and 1 as undifferentiated. The case of acute megakaryoblastic leukemia is the first reported case to be Leu-9 positive. None of the 10 were TdT positive. Of six cases (two monoblastic, one lymphoblastic, one myeloblastic, one megakaryoblastic, and one undifferentiated) in which we evaluated for DNA gene rearrangements, only one, a peroxidase-positive leukemia, showed a novel band on study of the T-cell-receptor β-chain gene. We therefore conclude that Leu-9 is not a specific marker to T-cell lineage and that, in the absence of other supporting data, Leu-9 positivity should not be used as the sole basis of classifying an acute leukemia as being T-cell derived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalHematologic Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


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