Powerful strategy for polymerase chain reaction-based clonality assessment in T-cell malignancies Report of the BIOMED-2 Concerted Action BHM4 CT98-3936

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Abstract

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assessment of clonal T-cell receptor (TCR) and immunoglobulin (Ig) gene rearrangements is an important diagnostic tool in mature T-cell neoplasms. However, lack of standardized primers and PCR protocols has hampered comparability of data in previous clonality studies. To obtain reference values for Ig/TCR rearrangement patterns, 19 European laboratories investigated 188 T-cell malignancies belonging to five World Health Organization-defined entities. The TCR/Ig spectrum of each sample was analyzed in duplicate in two different laboratories using the standardized BIOMED-2 PCR multiplex tubes accompanied by international pathology panel review. TCR clonality was detected in 99% (143/145) of all definite cases of T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia, T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia, peripheral T-cell lymphoma (unspecified) and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AILT), whereas nine of 43 anaplastic large cell lymphomas did not show clonal TCR rearrangements. Combined use of TCRB and TCRG genes revealed two or more clonal signals in 95% of all TCR clonal cases. Ig clonality was mostly restricted to AILT. Our study indicates that the BIOMED-2 multiplex PCR tubes provide a powerful strategy for clonality assessment in T-cell malignancies assisting the firm diagnosis of T-cell neoplasms. The detected TCR gene rearrangements can also be used as PCR targets for monitoring of minimal residual disease.

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