Which lab tests are performed in the workup of suspected non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)?

Updated: Feb 25, 2021
  • Author: Sanjay Vinjamaram, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Laboratory studies in a patient with suspected NHL should include the following:

  • CBC count: May be normal in early-stage disease; in more advanced stages, may demonstrate anemia, thrombocytopenia/leukopenia/pancytopenia, lymphocytosis, thrombocytosis

  • Serum chemistry studies: May show elevated LDH and calcium levels, abnormal liver function tests

  • Serum beta2-microglobulin level: May be elevated

  • HIV serology: Especially in patients with diffuse large cell immunoblastic or small noncleaved histologies

  • Human T-cell lymphotropic virus–1 serology: For patients with adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma

  • Hepatitis B testing: In patients in whom rituximab therapy is planned because reactivation has been reported

Other tests that may be helpful in evaluating suspected NHL include the following:

  • Immunophenotypic analysis of lymph node, bone marrow, peripheral blood

  • Cytogenetic studies: NHL occasionally associated with monoclonal gammopathy; possible positive Coombs test; maybe hypogammaglobulinemia

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