The B203.13 monoclonal antibody was developed by immunizing mice with the B/monocyte biphenotypic cell line B1b. During normal hematopoiesis B203.13 is expressed on a fraction of CD34+ cells, while on mature cells it is only present on B-lymphocytes. We tested this antibody as a marker of childhood B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Bone marrow aspirates from 139 cases of early B-ALL and 25 controls were studied. About 40% of the B-ALL patients expressed B203.13. In these patients, B203.13 was constantly co-expressed with CD10, but never co-expressed with CD20, contrary to the controls. The CD10(+)/B203.13(+) phenotype was specific to B-ALL, since CD10(+)/CD20(+) cells from common acute lymphoblastic leukemia (c-ALL) did not express B203.13. We concluded that the use of B203.13 in association with CD10 and CD20 provides meaningful information for distinguishing normal residual B-cells from leukemic B-lymphoblasts and that recurrence of a CD10(+)/B203.13(+) phenotype after transplantation may be a very early relapse indicator of early B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia
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