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J Clin Oncol. 1986 Mar;4(3):278-83.

Diagnosis of B cell lymphoma by analysis of immunoglobulin gene rearrangements in biopsy specimens obtained by fine needle aspiration.


Histologic diagnosis of lymphoma is far more difficult in the disaggregated cells obtained by percutaneous aspiration of lymph nodes than in tissue sections prepared from excisional biopsy specimens. However, the simplicity, economy, and safety of aspiration biopsy makes this an attractive diagnostic option in certain situations. In the present study, we demonstrate that lymph node aspirates provide material that is both suitable and sufficient for accurately detecting clonal proliferations of B cells by analysis of immunoglobulin gene rearrangements. The rearrangements detected in aspirated tissue serve as clonal markers that can be directly compared with the rearrangements found in histologically confirmed lymphoma removed by open biopsy. The application of gene rearrangements to aspirated material therefore offers a useful method of diagnosing lymphoma, particularly for the purposes of more thorough staging at initial presentation or the evaluation of tissues for possible relapse.

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