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Flow cytometric immunophenotyping (FCI) of lymphoma: correlation with histopathology and immunohistochemistry

Abeer M El-Sayed, Mohammad H El-Borai, Abeer A Bahnassy* and Shadia MS El-Gerzawi

Author Affiliations

Pathology Department, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

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Diagnostic Pathology 2008, 3:43  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-3-43

Published: 6 November 2008



To evaluate the role of flow cytometric immunophenotyping (FCI) in diagnosis and characterization of lymphoma tissue specimens from Egyptian patients.


FCI using 2 and 3 color staining approaches, was performed on 50 fresh lymph nodes specimen from Cairo NCI patients with suspected lymphoma presenting with either localized or generalized lymphadenopathy.

FCI results were correlated with histopathologic as well as immunophenotypic[by immunohistochemistry (IHC)] findings.


By FCI, cases were diagnosed as follows: 9(18%) reactive hyperplasia (RH), 32(64%) B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL) [24 diffuse large (DLBCL), 2 follicular, 3 small lymphocytic, 2 mantle cell lymphoma and a case of T cell rich B cell lymphoma], 3 (6%) T cell NHL [2 peripheral T cell lymphoma and a case of anaplastic large cell lymphoma], 2(4%) Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) while 4 (8%) were non-lymphomatous tumors (NLT). Light chain restriction (LCR) was detected in the 32 FCI diagnosed B-NHL. The overall concordance between FCI versus histopathology and IHC was 88%. The sensitivity and specificity of FCI in diagnosis of NHL was 94.9% and 100% respectively; in HL they were 40% and 100% respectively and in NLT, both sensitivity and specificity were 100% while for RH were 100% and 89.1% respectively.


FCI is a sensitive and specific method in diagnosis and classification of NHL as well as in detection of monoclonality. False negative results could be due to the presence of heterogeneous populations of lymphocytes in special types of lymphoma.