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Immunophenotypic Analysis of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma by Flow Cytometry

Jonathan Juco MD, Jeannine T. Holden MD, Karen P. Mann MD, PhD, Lloyd G. Kelley MT(ASCP), Shiyong Li MD, PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/HEFL7KC435KFWEX8 205-212 First published online: 1 February 2003


We studied the antigen expression profiles of 19 anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) cases by multiparameter flow cytometry. The neoplastic cells expressed CD45, HLA-DR, and CD30 in all cases. At least 1 T cell–associated antigen was expressed in each case (CD2, 12/17 [71%]; CD4, 12/19 [63%]; CD3, 6/19 [32%]; CD7, 6/19 [32%]; CD5, 5/19 [26%]; CD8, 4/19 [21%]). CD25 was expressed in 14 (88%) of 16 cases. CD13 was expressed unexpectedly in 8 (47%) of 17 cases. One CD13+ ALCL also was positive for CD33 and 2 others for CD15. CD19, CD20, CD22, CD14, and CD36 were not expressed. Anaplastic lymphoma kinase protein was detected in about 33% (3/9) of ALCLs examined by flow cytometric immunophenotyping (FCI); expression was validated by immunohistochemical analysis. Of 19 ALCL cases, 12 were diagnosed solely based on FCI findings in conjunction with morphologic evaluation of body fluid (1 case), fine-needle aspirate (3 cases), or excisional biopsy specimen (8 cases). The diagnoses of the remaining 7 cases were suggested strongly by FCI and confirmed by immunohistochemical analysis. FCI is useful to aid in diagnosis of ALCL, particularly along with fine-needle aspiration evaluation. ALCL with aberrant expression of myeloid antigens should not be mistaken for extramedullary myeloid tumor.

Key Words:
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Anaplastic lymphoma kinase
  • Flow cytometric immunophenotyping