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Am J Clin Pathol. 1992 Jul;98(1):26-33.

Hairy cell leukemia. Diagnosis of bone marrow involvement in paraffin-embedded sections with monoclonal antibody DBA.44.

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Anatomical Pathology Department of CHU-Purpan, Toulouse, France.


The new monoclonal antibody DBA.44 recognizes an unknown fixation-resistant B-cell differentiation antigen expressed by mantle zone lymphocytes, reactive immunoblasts, monocytoid B cells, and a small proportion of high- and low-grade lymphomas. Among node-based lymphomas, the strongest membrane staining was observed in centroblastic, immunoblastic, and monocytoid B-cell lymphomas. In studying bone marrow biopsy specimens from 166 patients with hairy cell leukemia, strong positive staining of surface membrane 'hairy' features of leukemic cells was observed in routinely fixed and decalcified bone marrow biopsy specimens of nearly all cases. The antibody distinguished hairy cell leukemia from the more common B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia and bone marrow infiltrates of typical lymph node-based lymphomas by immunomorphologic criteria. DBA.44 was valuable to (1) confirm the diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia, (2) estimate the bone marrow density of hairy cell leukemia before and after treatment, and (3) make the diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia in ambiguous cases, which are all properties that indicate its usefulness in the practice of diagnostic hematopathology.

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