Diagnostic Usefulness of CD23 and FMC-7 Antigen Expression Patterns in B-Cell Lymphoma Classification

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CD23 and FMC-7 are normal B-cell antigens used during diagnostic immunophenotyping of suspected lymphoproliferative disorders, but the diagnostic usefulness of antigenic expression patterns of simultaneous 2-color staining and flow cytometric analysis has not been reported. We evaluated the FMC-7 and CD23 expression pattern in 201 cases of B-cell lymphoma from tissue biopsy specimens by multiparameter flow cytometry. The CD23–/FMC-7+ pattern was the most common pattern in large cell, mantle cell, and marginal zone lymphomas. The CD23 and FMC-7 antigen, along with the CD5 coexpression pattern, permitted accurate classification of all 71 cases of small lymphocytic, mantle cell, and marginal zone types of lymphoma. The widest variation of patterns was with follicular cell lymphoma, although most cases expressed the CD23±/FMC-7+ pattern (±, partial or minor subset expression). The CD23 and FMC-7 antigen expression pattern was predictive of subtypes in more than 95% of lymphoma cases and could narrow the differential diagnosis in the remaining cases. We conclude the flow cytometric CD23/FMC-7 expression pattern achieved by dual staining facilitates accurate and reproducible classification of B-cell lymphomas and has diagnostic usefulness.

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