Enhanced detection of malignant lymphoma in cerebrospinal fluid by multiparameter flow cytometry

William G. Finn, Lo Ann C. Peterson, Catherine James, Charles L. Goolsby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Immunophenotyping by flow cytometry has not been widely applied to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis. We attempted to optimize flow cytometric detection of malignant lymphoma in CSF samples by the routine use of 3- and 4-colorflow cytometry, with specific selection of lymphoid cells by fluorescence vs 90°light scatter gating. Thirty-six consecutive CSF samples were immunophenotyped by flow cytometry, and the results were compared with those of standard microscopic examination. Lymphoid events were adequate for analysis in 27 of the 36 samples. Each of the 9 unsuccessful samples was more than 24 hours old at analysis or contained fewer than 1 x 104 total cells (≤1 cell/μL). Lymphoma was detected in 10 of the remaining 27 cases. Six lymphomas were detected by morphology and flow cytometry, 1 only by morphologic examination, and 3 only by flow cytometry. Therefore, the combination of flow cytometry and morphologic examination enhanced the detection by 43% over morphologic examination alone. Flow cytometry permitted the detection of lymphoid clones totaling less than 1% of total cells. Multicolor flow cytometry is a rapid and sensitive technique that enhances detection of lymphoma in paucicellular CSF samples. Given the great sensitivity of flow cytometry, future studies will be necessary to assess the significance of detecting small lymphoid clones in this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-346
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Flow cytometry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Malignant lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced detection of malignant lymphoma in cerebrospinal fluid by multiparameter flow cytometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this