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Blood. 2008 Apr 15;111(8):3941-67. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-11-120535. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Flow cytometric immunophenotyping for hematologic neoplasms.

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Division of Hematopathology, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA.


Flow cytometric immunophenotyping remains an indispensable tool for the diagnosis, classification, staging, and monitoring of hematologic neoplasms. The last 10 years have seen advances in flow cytometry instrumentation and availability of an expanded range of antibodies and fluorochromes that have improved our ability to identify different normal cell populations and recognize phenotypic aberrancies, even when present in a small proportion of the cells analyzed. Phenotypically abnormal populations have been documented in many hematologic neoplasms, including lymphoma, chronic lymphoid leukemias, plasma cell neoplasms, acute leukemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, mast cell disease, myelodysplastic syndromes, and myeloproliferative disorders. The past decade has also seen refinement of the criteria used to identify distinct disease entities with widespread adoption of the 2001 World Health Organization (WHO) classification. This classification endorses a multiparametric approach to diagnosis and outlines the morphologic, immunophenotypic, and genotypic features characteristic of each disease entity. When should flow cytometric immunophenotyping be applied? The recent Bethesda International Consensus Conference on flow cytometric immunophenotypic analysis of hematolymphoid neoplasms made recommendations on the medical indications for flow cytometric testing. This review discusses how flow cytometric testing is currently applied in these clinical situations and how the information obtained can be used to direct other testing.

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