B-Cell Pulmonary Lymphoma*: Gene Rearrangement Analysis of Bronchoalveolar Lymphocytes by Polymerase Chain Reaction

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Study objectivesNon-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) are clonal proliferation of B or T lymphocytes. Assessment of clonality in lymphoid proliferations uses immunochemistry and, recently, molecular biology. The aim of our study is to assess the role of immunoglobulin gene rearrangement analysis on bronchoalveolar lymphocytes to aid in the diagnosis of B-cell pulmonary NHL.Patients and methodsThe study took place in a university hospital. There were seven consecutive patients with B-cell-type pulmonary lymphoma and nine control subjects. Gene rearrangement analysis using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique was performed on alveolar lymphocytes recovered by BAL.ResultsAnalysis of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangement showed a predominant clonal alveolar lymphocyte population in six of seven patients while all control subjects showed germline pattern.ConclusionsGene rearrangement analysis by PCR of alveolar lymphocytes would appear to be sensitive in patients with B-cell pulmonary NHL (six of seven patients) and specific (zero of nine in the control group). This simple test should be added only in the analysis of cells recovered by BAL in patients with suspected primary and secondary B-cell pulmonary NHL.(CHEST 1999; 115:1242-1247)

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