Monoclonal Antibodies in the Diagnosis of Hodgkin's Disease: The Search for a Rational Panel

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Abstract

A novel, comprehensive panel of monoclonal antibodies was tested in a large series of routinely processed lymph node biopsy specimens from patients with Hodgkin's disease (69 cases), with the object of developing either definitive or adjunctive diagnostic criteria. B- and T-cell lymphomas and reactive states that could mimic Hodgkin's disease were also assessed with the same monoclonal antibody panel. In addition to the popularly used anti-Leu-M1 (CD15), the panel included the recently produced Ber-H2 (CD30) antibody, which detects a formalin-resistant epitope of the Ki-1 antigen. The other monoclonal antibodies were directed against epithelial membrane antigen (Dako-EMA) and leukocyte common antigen (Dako-LC) (CD45), as well as B-cell (LN-1 and LN-2) and T-cell (MT1) associated antigens. The results showed clear phenotypic separation of nodular lymphocyte predominant subtype of Hodgkin's disease from other subtypes. The lymphocytic and histocytic cells of nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's disease were reactive for LN-1 (all cases) and anti-EMA (most cases) but negative for anti-Leu-M1 and Ber-H2. Within the other subtypes—i.e. nodular sclerosis and mixed cellularity—nearly all Reed-Steinberg cells and Hodgkin's cells were positive for both anti-Leu-M1 and Ber-H2. Ber-H2 monoclonal antibody was observed to react more frequently with Reed-Sternberg cells and Hodgkin's cells in Bouin's- or formalin-fixed tissues. Pleomorphic T-cell lymphomas, which could mimic Hodgkin's disease on morphology, created the same problem on phenotypic analysis. However, MT1 identified a significant proportion of T-cell lymphomas with Reed-Sternberg-like cells, having proven negative for Reed-Sternberg cells and Hodgkin's cells in Hodgkin's disease. Thus, a combination of anti-Leu-M1, Ber-H2, anti-EMA, LN-1, and MT1 monoclonal antibodies appears at present to be the most useful panel for the diagnosis and the differential diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease.

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