Annals of Hematology

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 16–21 | Cite as

A classification of acute leukaemia for the 1990s

  • D. Catovsky
  • E. Matutes
  • V. Buccheri
  • V. Shetty
  • J. Hanslip
  • N. Yoshida
  • R. Morilla
Leading Article


The need for reproducibility in the classification of acute leukaemia has made it necessary to incorporate information derived from new techniques which have become essential for the study of these disorders. In addition to classic morphology and cytochemistry (FAB proposals), it is necessary to add immunology and cytogenetics (MIC proposals), as well as to investigate further the biological and diagnostic significance of molecular events. As a result of these investigations a new group of leukaemias merit recognition as distinct entities. These include three types of ALL with specific chromosome abnormalities, namely, i) t (9; 22), ii) t (4; 11) and iii) t (1;19) and four subtypes of AML, i) with minimal differentiation or AML-M0, ii) with basophilic precursors or M2Baso, iii) AML (M4/M5) with t (8; 16) and iv) AML with trilineage myelodysplasia. Biphenotypic acute leukaemia constitutes also a distinct entity with features of ALL and AML and represents a malignancy probably affecting multipotent stem cells. We propose an objective evaluation system for biphenotypic leukaemias based on a score in which the various lineage markers are graded according to their known specificity.



acute leukaemia








rearrangement (by DNA analysis)


immunoglobulin heavy chain gene


T-cell receptor gene


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Catovsky
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Matutes
    • 1
    • 2
  • V. Buccheri
    • 1
    • 2
  • V. Shetty
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Hanslip
    • 1
    • 2
  • N. Yoshida
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Morilla
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Academic Haematology and CytogeneticsThe Royal Marsden HospitalLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Cancer ResearchLondonUK

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