The value of genotypic analysis for routine assessment of leukaemia and lymphoma was shown by the findings in a selected series of 30 cases. T cell receptor (TcR) gene rearrangements were observed in six out of nine cases of CD3+ CD8+ lymphocytoses and provided clear evidence for clonality in this group. The T cell proliferations in two of the remaining cases masked B cell lymphocytic leukaemia and hairy cell leukaemia, while in the third case no cause was found for the polyclonal proliferation. Heterogeneity of phenotype and genotype were observed in peripheral T cell lymphomas: one out of six cases showed TcR gene rearrangement, one case retained its germline configuration, a further case masked B cell lymphoma and the remainder were polyclonal. Genotypic analysis was helpful in the analysis of a tumour of mixed T cell and myeloid phenotype which was shown to be germline for TcR and immunoglobulin genes, consistent with a myeloid origin. Two histiocytic tumours were found to have clonal rearrangement of TcR genes. Nine out of 11 B cell tumours showed immunoglobulin gene rearrangement. It is concluded that genetic analyses are useful in the analysis of T cell, histiocytic, and B cell tumours in which an immunoglobulin phenotype cannot be defined.
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