Normal and malignant human myeloid progenitors differ in their sensitivity to hyperthermia

P. B. Murphy, Carol M Richman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The effect of in vitro hyperthermia on normal human bone marrow granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells (granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units, CFU-GM) was compared to its effect on clonogenic acute nonlymphocytic leukemic (ANLL) cells. Mononuclear normal bone marrow cells, blasts from patients with ANLL, and HL-60 cells were incubated at room temperature (control) and at 42°-44°C for 0-120 min prior to assay in methylcellulose. The heat sensitivity of the leukemic cells was significantly greater than that of normal bone marrow progenitors. Two-h exposure to 43°C, for example, resulted in survival of 52% of normal marrow CFU-GM, whereas only 3% of leukemic CFU-GM survived (p < 0.001 for HL-60 cells and p < 0.005 for patient blast cells). To determine the effect of hyperthermia on more primitive progenitors and on marrow stromal cells, long-term cultures of normal bone marrow were established using control and heat-related cells. Generation of CFU-GM was detected in the nonadherent fraction of hyperthermia-treated samples throughout the 5-week culture period. Although stromal development was slightly delayed, hyperthermia-treated cells were able to establish stromal layers similar to control cells. These results indicate that normal bone marrow committed progenitor cells are more resistant by hyperthermia than are myeloid leukemic cells. Normal stromal cells and primitive cells assayed in long-term culture and also resistant to hyperthermia that is toxic for leukemic cells. Because of this differential sensitivity to heat, ex vivo hyperthermia may be applicable for removing residual leukemic cells from bone marrow harvested for autologous transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1105-1109
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • human CFU-GM
  • hyperthermia
  • long-term marrow culture
  • myeloid leukemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Transplantation


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