Aims - To investigate whether the analysis of immunoglobulin (Ig)/T cell receptor (TCR) rearrangements is useful in the diagnosis of lymphoproliferative disorders. Methods - In a series of 107 consecutive cases with initial suspicion of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), Southern blot (SB) analysis of Ig/TCR rearrangements was performed. Results - In 98 of 100 histopathologically conclusive cases, Ig/TCR gene results were concordant. In one presumed diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLCL) and one follicular lymphoma (FL) case no clonality could be detected by SB analysis, or by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at second stage. In the DLCL, sampling error might have occurred; the FL was revised after an initial diagnosis of reactivity. In many of the histopathologically inconclusive cases Ig/TCR gene SB analysis was helpful, giving support for the histopathological suspicion. However, because of a lack of (clinical) follow up data this could not be confirmed in a few cases. Conclusions - Experienced haematopathologists or a pathologist panel can diagnose malignant versus reactive lesions in most cases without the need for Ig/TCR gene analysis and can select the 5-10% of cases that might benefit from molecular clonality studies.

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Journal of Clinical Pathology: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in clinical pathology
Department of Pathology