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Pitfalls in bone marrow pathology: avoiding errors in bone marrow trephine biopsy diagnosis
  1. Bridget S Wilkins
  1. St Thomas' Hospital and King's College, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bridget Wilkins, Guys and St Thomas', Histopathology Department, Second Floor, North Wing, St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK; bridget.wilkins{at}


Avoiding errors in the histological interpretation of bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens requires an unprecedented degree of collaboration between histopathologists, haematologists, specimen requesters, specimen takers, laboratory technical staff and other scientific staff. A specimen of good quality, with full, relevant clinical information is the essential starting point. This must then be processed optimally and investigated appropriately, involving immunophenotyping and molecular testing when needed. A wide range of pathologies may involve bone marrow haemopoietic and stromal components, and a systematic approach to analysing each of the components in turn is required to avoid overlooking abnormalities; correlation with bone marrow cells aspirated in parallel is particularly important. Final interpretation should be a synthesis of the histological findings with information from such haematological and other investigations, interpreted with due regard to clinical context.

  • Bone marrow trephines

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.