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PML protein analysis using imaging flow cytometry
  1. Lizz Grimwade1,
  2. Emma Gudgin2,
  3. David Bloxham1,
  4. Mike A Scott1,
  5. Wendy N Erber1
  1. 1Haemato-Oncology Diagnostics Service, Department of Haematology, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Department of Haematology, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lizz Grimwade, Department of Haematology, Box 234, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK; lizz.grimwade{at}


Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APML) can be promptly diagnosed by detecting abnormal diffuse staining patterns of PML bodies in abnormal promyelocytes using immunofluorescence microscopy. However, this technique is subjective, with low sensitivity. Using samples from 18 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) (including four with APML), the authors investigated whether imaging flow cytometry could be a viable alternative to this current technique and improve sensitivity levels. Bone marrow/peripheral blood cells were stained with an antibody to PML, and data were acquired on an ImageStream (Amnis Corporation, Seattle, Washington, USA). Using the modulation feature for data analysis, the authors demonstrated that this technique could successfully identify cases of APML. Imaging flow cytometry, by analysing greater numbers of cells and with the potential to include disease-specific antigens, increases the sensitivity of the current immunofluorescence technique. Imaging flow cytometry is an exciting technology that has many possible applications in the diagnosis of haematological malignancies, including the potential to integrate modalities.

  • Acute promyelocytic leukaemia
  • immunofluorescent microscopy
  • imaging flow cytometry
  • haem-oncology

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  • LG and EG contributed equally to the research.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Cambridge Regional Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.