Published September 1, 1978 - More info
Adenosine deaminase (ADA) activity has been measured in the lymphoblasts of 23 untreated patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and related to the presence or absence of immunologic cell surface markers. The mean ADA activity in the acute lymphoblastic leukemia population as a whole was increased fourfold over that in normal lymphocytes. 9 of the 23 patients were classified as thymus-derived (T-) cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia on the basis of erythrocyte rosette positivity; the remaining 14 patients had null-cell leukemia. The mean ADA activity (ADA U/mg protein) of T-cell lymphoblasts (102 U) was 3 times higher than the mean of null lymphoblasts (30 U). This difference is statistically significant (P less than 0.02). Measurement of ADA activity offers a biochemical method of distinguishing between immunological subtypes of lymphoblasts which may be of prognostic and therapeutic value.