Three-color versus four-color multiparameter cell cycle analyses of primary acute myeloid leukemia samples

Sara M. Garrido, Cheryl Willman, Frederick R. Appelbaum, Deborah E. Banker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Checkpoint alterations that impact cell cycle and apoptosis responses to therapeutic treatments may produce drug resistance in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). To study these, we have developed flow cytometry assays of checkpoint function that also allow quantitation of key molecular regulators of apoptosis and cell cycle. We have used three-color (3C) assays, with FITC- labeled anti-BCL-2 and PE-labeled anti-proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) antibodies, and the DNA dye 7-aminoactinomycin, to characterize primary leukemia cells identified in DNA x side light scatter (SSC) histograms. We showed that 3C assays are accurate and reproducible in analyses of leukemia cell lines and of primary AML and normal bone marrow samples (Banker et al.: Blood 89: 243-255, 1997; Banker et al.: Leukemia Res 22: 221-239, 1998; Banker et al. Clin Cancer Res 4: 3051-3062, 1998). To further confirm the validity of our SSC leukemia cell gating and to address whether immunophenotypic AML subsets might have different biologic properties, we have now designed four-color (4C) flow assays to characterize checkpoint status in leukemic blasts specifically identified by surface immunostaining. In modeling this assay strategy, PE/Cy5-labeled anti-CD34 antibody was used to detect blasts, with FITC-labeled anti-BCL-2, PE-labeled anti-PCNA antibodies, and Hoechst 33342 (H33342) DNA dye. Four-color CD34- gated data was concordant with 3C, SSC-gated data for leukemia cell lines and for most primary AML samples with high and intermediate blast counts. BCL-2 and PCNA immunopositivity and sub-G1 apoptosis determinations were different in the CD34-gated versus SSC-gated blasts in particular samples with smaller CD34+ subsets, suggesting that leukemia samples can contain blast subsets with different biologic properties. On the other hand, PCNA-gated cell-cycle distributions in untreated cells and G1 versus S phase cell-cycle arrests after cytosine arabinoside treatments were completely concordant in 4C and 3C assays. We conclude that both 3C and 4C assays can be used to characterize protein expression and cell-cycle drug response patterns in leukemia blasts, but that 4C assays may additionally allow discrimination of these properties in immunophenotypic leukemia subsets. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalCommunications in Clinical Cytometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2000


  • AML
  • Apoptosis
  • BCL-2
  • Blasts
  • Cell cycle
  • Drug resistance
  • PCNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-color versus four-color multiparameter cell cycle analyses of primary acute myeloid leukemia samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this