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J Mol Diagn. 2001 Nov;3(4):133-40.

Evaluation of T cell receptor testing in lymphoid neoplasms: results of a multicenter study of 29 extracted DNA and paraffin-embedded samples.

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Division of Pathology, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California, USA.


To evaluate current diagnostic methods used for the evaluation of T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements, 24 different laboratories analyzed 29 lymphoid neoplasm samples of extracted DNA and paraffin-embedded tissue and were asked to complete a technical questionnaire related to the testing. Participating laboratories performed Southern blot and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for rearrangements of the TCRbeta chain gene and PCR for the TCRgamma chain gene rearrangements. Of 14 laboratories performing TCRbeta Southern blot analysis, there was complete agreement in 10 of 14 cases, with some false negative results obtained in 4 cases. No false positive results were obtained by Southern blot analysis. TCRbeta PCR analysis was only performed by two laboratories, and only 47.1% of positive samples were detected. Twenty-one laboratory results were obtained for TCRgamma PCR. This method showed an overall detection rate of 77.9% for T cell gene rearrangements with a 4.1% false positive rate, as compared to both TCRgamma Southern blot analysis results and immunophenotyping. The detection rate for TCRgamma PCR, however, significantly differed when extracted DNA samples from frozen tissue were compared to paraffin-embedded tissue (85.4% versus 65.9%; P = 0.0005). Significant differences in true positive results were obtained when laboratories using primers directed against multiple TCRgamma variable regions (V1-8 plus one to three other primer sets) were compared to laboratories that used only a single set of TCR primers directed against the V1-8 (P < 0.0001). Other technical factors significantly affecting results were also identified. These findings provide useful data on the current state of diagnostic TCR testing, highlight the risk of false negative results for TCR testing directed against only portions of the TCRgamma gene, and identify limitations of testing of paraffin-embedded tissues in some laboratories.

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