To classify cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in terms of expected clinical behaviour and survival, kinetic parameters measured by cytophotometry were assessed in 62 patients between 1978 and 1987. The influence of the number of cells with increased DNA content (more than 2N) on survival was evaluated. Analyses were carried out on the small samples obtained by needle aspiration biopsy of lymph nodes before treatment, using microdensitometry and Feulgen staining. Patients whose lymphomas contained less than 6% of cells with increased DNA content had a mean survival of 81.3 months and those whose lymphomas contained 6% or more of such cells had a mean survival of 18.5 months. A significant difference in survival using the same criteria was also noticed for patients with both low grade lymphomas and those with intermediate and high grade lymphomas. It is concluded that cytophotometric analysis of lymph node aspirates is of prognostic value in the initial assessment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
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