Research Papers:

This article has been corrected. Correction in: Oncotarget. 2019; 10:2335.

Is alkaline phosphatase the smoking gun for highly refractory primitive leukemic cells?

Laura G. Rico, Jordi Juncà, Mike D. Ward, Jolene Bradford and Jordi Petriz _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:72057-72066. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12497

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Laura G. Rico1, Jordi Juncà1, Mike D. Ward2, Jolene Bradford2, Jordi Petriz1

1Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

2Thermo Fisher Scientific, Eugene, Oregon, USA

Correspondence to:

Jordi Petriz, email: [email protected]

Keywords: alkaline phosphatase, stem cells, leukemic stem cells, CD34, Vybrant DyeCycle Violet

Received: July 20, 2016     Accepted: September 29, 2016     Published: October 06, 2016


With the aim to detect candidate malignant primitive progenitor populations, we modified an original alkaline phosphatase (ALP) stem cell detection method based on the identification of alkaline phosphatase fluorescent cells in combination with flow cytometry immunophenotyping. Over a period of one year, we have been using this technique to study its activity in patients with leukemia and lymphoma, showing that changes in the alkaline phosphatase levels can be used to detect rare populations of highly refractory malignant cells. By screening different blood cancers, we have observed that this activity is not always restricted to CD34+ leukemic cells, and can be overexpressed in CD34 negative leukemia. We have verified that this method gives accurate and reproducible measurements and our preliminary results suggest that CD34+/ALPhigh cells appear to sustain leukemogenesis over time.

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