What is the role of immunophenotypic analysis in the workup of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)?

Updated: Feb 25, 2021
  • Author: Sanjay Vinjamaram, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Immunophenotypic analysis of lymph node, bone marrow, peripheral blood (if positive for neoplastic cells), or a combination of these complements and confirms the results of routine tissue section and may be useful in resolving a diagnostic dilemma in patients with an atypical morphology.

This analysis provides information about lineage and clonality, which are complementary to the histology of a given case. Analysis is also useful for subclassifying certain lymphoma subtypes, which has therapeutic and prognostic importance.

Immunophenotypic analysis helps to distinguish reactive from neoplastic lymphoid infiltrates, lymphoid from nonlymphoid malignancies, and specific lymphoid neoplasms. Although bcl -2 expression distinguishes follicular lymphoma from reactive follicular hyperplasia, bcl -1 expression strongly favors a diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma. CD30 expression is important for the recognition of anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and it can also be found in the majority of Hodgkin lymphomas.

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