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

Liuyan Jiang, Constance M. Yuan, Julia Hubacheck, John Edward Janik, Wyndham Wilson, John C. Morris, Gregory A. Jasper, Maryalice Stetler-Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-179
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Alemtuzumab
  • CD52
  • Flow cytometry
  • NK cell lymphoma
  • T cell lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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