Diagnostic Utility of Flow Cytometry Analysis of Reactive T Cells in Nodular Lymphocyte-Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Objectives: This study aims to define the diagnostic utility of flow cytometric features of T cells in nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL).Methods: Cases were retrospectively identified based on diagnosis with NLPHL (n = 30 samples), classic Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL; n = 33), and reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (RLH; n = 43). Pathology slides were reviewed. Flow cytometry list mode data were reanalyzed.Results: The mean proportion of CD4 + CD8 + T cells (8.4%) in cases of NLPHL was significantly higher than seen in CHL (1.0%) or RLH (0.6%). Of the T cells, 28.4% were CD57 + in NLPHL, significantly higher (P < .05) than in CHL (3.2%) or RLH (3.2%). Based on receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, when using a cutoff of 3.0% of CD4 + CD8 + T cells, the diagnostic sensitivity for NLPHL is 83.3% with a specificity of 97.4%. The diagnostic sensitivity was 96.7% with a specificity of 98.7% when using a cutoff of 12% for CD57 + T cells.Conclusions: Increased portions of CD57 + T cells and CD4 + CD8 + T cells are highly suggestive of the possibility of NLPHL. In addition, NLPHL diagnosis appears unlikely if neither CD57 + T cells nor CD4 + CD8 + T cells are increased. Future prospective studies including cases of progressive transformation of germinal center and T-cell/histiocyte-rich large B-cell lymphoma will further define the utility of flow cytometry of T cells in NLPHL.

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