AIMS: To investigate whether nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry can be used to diagnose malignant lymphoma. METHODS: Paraffin wax embedded tissue sections from 31 patients with malignant lymphoma were analysed by nested PCR and immunohistochemistry using standard protocols. RESULTS: Nested PCR amplification of 1 pg DNA confirmed monoclonality in B cell lymphoma; PCR amplification of 10 pg DNA confirmed monoclonality in T cell lymphoma. Twenty seven (87%) samples were diagnosed as malignant lymphoma by nested PCR, and 24 (77%) by immunohistochemistry. Seven samples were diagnosed as malignant lymphoma by nested PCR, but not by immunohistochemistry, whereas the use of both procedures gave a diagnosis of malignant lymphoma in all 31 samples. CONCLUSIONS: A combination of immunohistochemistry and nested PCR can be used to diagnose malignant lymphoma in routine paraffin wax embedded sections.
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