Diagnosis of biphenotypic acute leukemia: a paradigmatic approach.Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2009 Oct 10; 3(1):75-86.IJ
Biphenotypic acute leukemia (BAL), or acute leukemia with a single population of blasts coexpressing markers of two different lineages, is a rare clinical entity. To define BAL, a scoring system was proposed by the European Group of Immunological Markers for Leukemias (EGIL) in 1995. However, increasing evidence suggests that this system has limitations, as acknowledged by the 2008 World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumors of Hematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. Although substantially improved in relation to the EGIL, the new WHO Classification is still not optimal for guiding the clinical management of patients with BAL. We propose a new paradigmatic approach to defining BAL based on recent clinical studies of BAL and advances in immunologic marker definition and cytogenetics, and applied our new approach to 8 cases of "BAL" among a cohort of 742 new acute leukemias in our Cancer Center. By our new criteria, 6 cases were reclassified as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), while only 2 were still classified as BAL. Our approach is also supported by analyses of the BAL cases previously reported by other institutions.