Variable CD52 expression in mature T cell and NK cell malignancies: implications for alemtuzumab therapy

Authors

  • Liuyan Jiang,

    1. Flow Cytometry Unit, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
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  • Constance M. Yuan,

    1. Flow Cytometry Unit, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
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  • Julia Hubacheck,

    1. Flow Cytometry Unit, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
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  • John E. Janik,

    1. Metabolism Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, MD, USA
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  • Wyndham Wilson,

    1. Metabolism Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, MD, USA
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  • John C. Morris,

    1. Metabolism Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, MD, USA
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  • Gregory A. Jasper,

    1. Flow Cytometry Unit, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
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  • Maryalice Stetler-Stevenson

    1. Flow Cytometry Unit, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
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Dr Maryalice Stetler-Stevenson, MD, PhD, Flow Cytometry Unit, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 2A-33, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
E-mail: stetler@mail.nih.gov

Summary

The anti-CD52 antibody alemtuzumab has been explored as a novel targeted therapy in T cell malignancies. To assess the suitability of alemtuzumab therapy, we carried out a comprehensive study of CD52 expression using flow cytometry (FC) in 78 untreated patients diagnosed with mature T/natural killer (NK) cell neoplasms, including 34 adult T cell leukaemia/lymphomas (ATLL), two anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL), three angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphomas (AITL), 16 cutaneous T cell lymphomas (CTCL), four extra-nodal T/NK cell lymphomas (ENT/NKCL), four hepatosplenic T cell lymphomas (HSTCL), 13 peripheral T cell lymphomas, not otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS) and two T-prolymphocytic leukaemia (T-PLL). The level of CD52 expression was quantified using QuantiBRITE standard beads. The level of CD52 expression varied widely within each diagnostic category. All AITL, HSTCL and T-PLL cases were CD52-positive and the frequency of CD52 expression was high in PTCL-NOS (92·3%), ATLL (94·1%) and CTCL (87·5%), implying a rational role for alemtuzumab in the treatment of these diseases; however, CD52 expression was low in ALCL (50%) and ENT/NKCL (25%). FC testing for cell surface expression of CD52 is indicated in patients with T/NK cell malignancies being considered for alemtuzumab therapy. Further studies are necessary to determine if the level of CD52 expression correlates with response to therapy.

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