Markedly increased quantities of lysozyme have been found in the serum and urine (ranging to 2.6 g per day) of ten consecutive cases of monocytic and monomyelocytic leukemia. The enzyme has been isolated from the urine of several cases and physicochemically and immunochemically characterized. It is apparently identical to the lysozyme of normal tears, saliva, leukocytes, and serum, but structurally different from the lysozyme of hen's egg white. The activity of the human enzyme assayed with M. lysodeikticus organisms is 3 to 12 times greater than egg white lysozyme at equivalent concentrations.
An agar plate method has been developed for quantitating lysozyme activity in small samples (approximately 25 µl) of serum, urine, or other biological fluids. The range and reproducibility of this method were found to be superior to previously available lysozyme assay procedures.
Present evidence indicates that lysozyme is the principal, if not the sole, product of the proliferating monocytes in monocytic and monomyelocytic leukemia, and quantitation of serum and urine lysozyme should be a useful diagnostic procedure for these leukemias.