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B-cell leukemia/lymphoma panel

Definition

B-cell leukemia/lymphoma panel is a blood test that looks for certain proteins on the surface of white blood cells called B-lymphocytes. The proteins serve as markers that may be helpful in diagnosing leukemia or lymphoma.

Alternative Names

B lymphocyte cell surface markers

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

In some cases, white blood cells are removed during a bone marrow biopsy. The sample may also be taken during a lymph node biopsy or other biopsy when lymphoma is suspected.

The blood sample is sent to a laboratory, where a specialist checks the cell type and characteristics. This procedure is called immunophenotyping. The test is usually done using a technique called flow cytometry.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is usually necessary.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some persons feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.

Why the Test is Performed

This test may be done for the following reasons:

  • When other tests (such as a blood smear) show signs of abnormal white blood cells
  • When leukemia or lymphoma is suspected
  • To find out the type of leukemia or lymphoma

What Abnormal Results Mean

Risks

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

References

Czuchlewski DR, Viswanatha DS, Larson RS. Molecular diagnosis of hematopoietic neoplasms. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 75.


Review Date: 3/23/2014
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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