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Diagn Cytopathol. 1999 May;20(5):278-84.

Immunophenotypic analysis of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas in cytologic specimens: a correlative study of immunocytochemical and flow cytometric techniques.

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Laboratory of Pathology, National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Most Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas(NHL) can be accurately diagnosed and classified based on morphologic and immunophenotypic findings on cytologic specimens. Immunophenotyping can be accomplished via immunocytochemistry (IC) or flow cytometry (FC). We reviewed our experience with 98 cytology specimens (70 fine-needle aspirates [FNA] and 28 effusions) that were submitted for immunophenotyping utilizing both IC and FC between January 1992 and December 1997 for the diagnosis of NHL. Eighty-five percent of the cases were immunophenotyped by both techniques. Among these there were only two discrepancies between IC and FC, yielding a 98% correlation rate. Of the 98 cases, 11% could not be immunophenotyped by FC and 4% could not be immunophenotyped by IC. The advantage of IC is the preservation of cytomorphology, which results in the requirement for a lower number of neoplastic cells and a limited, targeted panel of antibodies. This is especially useful in predominantly necrotic lymphomas in which only a few well-preserved neoplastic cells may be present, rendering the specimen inadequate for immunophenotyping by FC. The advantages of FC are in the detection of a small population of monoclonal cells in a background of reactive cells (particularly useful in effusion samples in which the predominant cell population is often reactive T lymphocytes), increased diagnostic precision through evaluation of objective parameters, and the use of multiple markers with dual labelling. We conclude that IC and FC are both excellent methods for immunophenotyping of cytology specimens and can be used interchangeably depending on the institutional expertise and availability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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