A scanning electron microscopic study of 34 cases of acute granulocytic, myelomonocytic, monoblastic and histiocytic leukemia
This report describes the surface architecture of leukemic cells, as seen by scanning electron microscopy in 34 patients with acute nonlymphoblastic leukemia. Six patients with myeloblastic, 4 with promyelocytic, 10 with myelomonocytic, 8 with monocytic, 4 with histiocytic and 2 with undifferentiated leukemia were studied. Under the scanning electron microscope most leukemia histiocytes and monocytes appeared similar and were characterized by the presence of large, well developed broad-based ruffled membranes or prominent raised ridge-like profiles, resembling ithis respect normal monocytes. Most cells from patients with acute promyelocytic or myeloblastic leukemia exhibited narrower ridge-like profiles whereas some showed ruffles or microvilli. Patients with myelomonocytic leukemia showed mixed populations of cells with ridge-like profiles and ruffled membranes whereas cells from two patients with undifferentiated leukemia had smooth surfaces, similar to those encountered in cells from patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It appears that nonlymphoblastic and lymphoblastic leukemia cells (particularly histiocytes and monocytes) can frequently be distinquished on the basis of their surface architecture. The surface features of leukemic histiocytes and monocytes are similar, suggesting that they may belong to the same cell series. The monocytes seem to have characteristic surface features recognizable with the scanning electron microscope and differ from most cells from patients with acute granulocytic leukemia. Although overlap of surface features and misidentification can occur, scanning electron microscopy is a useful adjunct to other modes of microscopy in the study and diagnosis of acute leukemia.