Bone Marrow Involvement by Aggressive B Cell Lymphoma Undetected by Aspirate Immunophenotyping

Habib Moshref Razavi


Staging for newly diagnosed lymphoma is an essential diagnostic step aimed at not only estimating prognosis but also refining the ensuing therapeutic pathway. Bone marrow is routinely sampled for this reason. Morphological assessment of the bone marrow aspirate and biopsy remains the gold standard approach. Nonetheless, ancillary testing such as aspirate immunophenotyping is also used with the aim to increase sensitivity and add diagnostic utility, e.g., to provide proof of clonality. Both of these techniques are fraught with shortcomings and concordance is often not perfect. Cases of infiltrative lymphoma identified by morphology, and not detected by flow cytometry highlights the dangers of over reliance on aspirate immunophenotyping. Under sampling, disintegration, fibrosis and hemodilution are but some causes of a false negative flow result. Therefore, neither technique is sufficient in isolation. In this submission, a case of such a discrepancy is presented as an introduction for review of literature that highlights this phenomenon.

J Hematol. 2021;10(1):14-17


Aggressive B cell lymphoma; Staging; Bone marrow biopsy; Aspirate immunophenotyping

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Journal of Hematology, bimonthly, ISSN 1927-1212 (print), 1927-1220 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                            
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