The differentiation between Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia (BL) and B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) is sometimes complicated. Laboratory findings that favor BL (e.g., surface expression of μ heavy chain and/or one of the light chains of immunoglobulin, FAB L3 morphology of blasts, MYC gene rearrangements) are not always present simultaneously. Our previous work demonstrated that BL differed from Ig(+) BCP-ALL by expression of Ig and other surface markers. In the current study, we have evaluated additional flow cytometric markers for reliable differentiation between BL and BCP-ALL. Among three studied surface antigens (CD44, CD38, CD58), only CD58 demonstrated significantly higher expression in BL as compared to BCP-ALL. Moreover, BL cases were associated with an increased level of Ki-67 and a higher percentage of cells in the S-phase of cell cycle. These two features reflect an aggressive proliferative potential of BL. Thus, when BL is suspected and results of surface Ig evaluation are controversial, the flow cytometric analysis of CD58, Ki-67 and cell cycle could assist in the differential diagnosis.
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