CD56 expression in acute promyelocytic leukemia: A possible indicator of poor treatment outcome?

Clinton K. Murray, Elihu Estey, Elisabeth Paietta, Robin S. Howard, William J. Edenfield, Sherry Pierce, Karen P. Mann, Charles Bolan, John C. Byrd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Purpose: Blast expression of CD56 is frequent in patients with t(8;21)(q22;q22) acute myeloid leukemia and is associated with an inferior outcome. The expression of CD56 has rarely been reported in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and has not been clinically characterized. Therefore, we examined the prognostic significance of CD56 expression in APL. Patients and Methods: We identified all reported cases of CD56+ APL in the medical literature and collected clinical, biologic, and therapeutic details. Results: Data were obtained for 12 patients with CD56+ APL (> 20% blast expression of CD56), including four cases from a single institution with a total of 42 APL patients. All of the CD56+ APL patients had documented cytogenetic presence of t(15;17), and of the nine reported isotypes, eight (89%) were S-isoform. Only six CD56+ patients (50%) attained complete remission (CR); the other six individuals died within 35 days of presentation. Of the six patients who attained a CR, three (50%) relapsed at 111, 121, and 155 weeks, whereas three remained in continuous CR at 19, 90, and 109 weeks. Comparison of the control CD56- to CD56+ APL patients demonstrated that the latter group had a significantly lower fibrinogen level (P = .007), and among patients for whom data were available, there was a higher frequency of the S-isoform (P = .006). Additionally, the CR rate (50% v 84%, P = .025) and overall median survival (5 v 232 weeks; P = .019) were significantly inferior for CD56+ APL patients. Conclusion: CD56+ acute promyelocytic leukemia is infrequent, seems to occur more frequently with the S-isoform subtype, and may be associated with a lower CR rate and inferior overall survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-297
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


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