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.
- Cerebrospinal fluid
- Flow cytometry
- Malignant lymphoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine