A previously uncharacterized human B-lymphocyte antigen has been detected by rabbit antisera raised to papain digests of spleen cell membranes. The unabsorbed sera reacted in both cytotoxicity and immunofluorescent tests with normal B lymphocytes and cultured B-cell lines but not with normal T lymphocytes or cultured T-cell lines. The cytotoxicity titers against B cells were as high as 1:32,000, whereas the same sera undiluted were negative against T cells. By immunofluorescent staining 6-14% of unfractionated normal lymphocytes and 48-85% of B-rich lymphocyte preparations were positive. Normal peripheral blood granulocytes, platelets, erythrocytes, and phytohemagglutinin blasts were negative. The antisera reacted with the same high titers against leukemia cells from approximately 70% of the patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, chronic myelocytic leukemia, and seven of eight cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. From absorption studies it appeared that the same antigen was being expressed by leukemia cells and normal B lymphocytes. Using immunofluorescent staining the anti-B-cell antisera were able to detect positive leukemia cells in the bone marrow of patients with advanced leukemia and to monitor the elimination of these cells after chemotherapy. Soluble B-cell antigen was found in the serum of some leukemia and lymphoma patients do but not in normal serum.

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