A set of guidelines for pathologists that may greatly improve the diagnosis of malignant lymphomas are to be published online by Leukemia. In five related papers, a group of leading scientists participating in the EU-supported BIOMED-2 programme report a new test that could be used as an efficient and cost-effective method to diagnose lymphomas.
Malignant lymphomas are cancers of the immune system, which arise from a single malignantly transformed lymphoid cell and consequently have the same clonal rearrangement of immune receptor genes. The Southern Blot technique is traditionally seen as the most effective method for assessing the clonal rearrangements of immune receptor genes that indicate the presence of malignant lymphoma. However, this involves a complex process, requires a large amount of DNA and takes a relatively long time to complete.
The authors of the present studies report that PCR - polymerase chain reaction - clonality testing is a reliable and more efficient diagnostic tool. They make several recommendations for a standardized approach in patients that could be used routinely, and, they believe, that would improve and speed-up the diagnosis of this disease.
JJM van Dongen (Coordinator of BIOMED-2 Concerted Action, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Rachel Gonzaga (Leukemia, London, UK)
(C) Leukemia press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza