Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a rapid, malignant proliferation of lymphoblasts. This slide shows a typical peripheral blood smear of a patient with ALL. In this particular case, the lymphoblasts are relatively small, ranging from one to about two times the size of a normal mature lymphocyte. The nuclear chromatin is fine relative to that seen in more mature lymphocytes, but more clumped than that seen in most cases of ANLL. Nucleoli are few and inconspicuous. Finally and perhaps most striking is the paucity of cytoplasm: The nucleus to cytoplasm (N:C) ratio is quite high. Auer rods are not seen since they are found only in cases of ANLL. This cytologic picture is typical for the type of ALL most commonly seen in children under 16 years old.
Course Section: 07. Lymphocytic Leukemia: Acute and Chronic
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