Stable flow cytometric markers for malignant myeloid cells are highly warranted. Based on data from stem cell research, we hypothesized that the human inhibitory C-type lectin like receptor (hMICL) might represent a novel diagnostic and prognostic vehicle in a standard flow cytometry (FCM) setting.
Standard four-color FCM was employed to uncover the expression patterns of hMICL in bone marrow in a test set of 55 retrospectively collected diagnostic acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples and in a set of 36 prospectively collected diagnostic AML samples.
Ninety-two percent of the AML patients stained positive for hMICL and in the otherwise poorly characterized CD34 negative patient group hMICL staining revealed a very homogenous expression profile in the blast cell compartment with a mean of 88% hMICL positive cells. Moreover, hMICL displayed significantly higher expression in AML as compared with normal donors as measured by median fluorescence intensity (MFI) ratios (P = 0.01). There was no difference in hMICL MFI ratios between the CD34 positive and the CD34 negative subgroups (P = 0.89). Importantly, there was no difference in MFI ratios between paired diagnostic and relapse samples (P = 0.76) in 23 cases studied, indicating stable expression of hMICL during the course of the disease. In contrast to the other stem cell associated antigens analyzed (CD34, CD96, CD117, and CD133), hMICL was expressed on myeloid blast cells only, revealing hMICL as a diagnostic marker in AML.
These data identify hMICL as a myeloid leukemia-associated antigen and establishes its applicability for diagnosis and follow-up of AML patients in a standard FCM setting. © 2011 International Clinical Cytometry Society