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Splitting bone marrow trephines into frozen and fixed fragments allows parallel histological and molecular detection of B cell malignant infiltrates


Clonality analysis of the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) gene is helpful in identifying malignant B cell infiltrates in the bone marrow and is usually carried out on separate aspirates or on the same formalin-fixed decalcified bone marrow specimen. To determine whether the removal of the decalcification step would improve the molecular analysis, we first studied 12 bone marrow specimens with lymphoma infiltration split into a fixed and a small frozen fragment. Both the detection rate of IgH gene monoclonality and DNA quality were found to be superior in the frozen part than in the fixed part. Conversely, to evaluate whether the split would compromise histological analysis, we selected a series of 134 bone marrow specimens obtained from patients with small B cell lymphoma and showing IgH monoclonality on the frozen part. The histological detection rate of infiltrated or suspicious infiltrates (95%) on the fixed part was not altered by saving a frozen part.

  • FFPE, formalin-fixed paraffin-wax-embedded
  • IgH, immunoglobulin heavy chain
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction

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