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Comparison of laboratory methods for the detection of neoplastic plasma cells in plasma cell dyscrasias


Aims To compare the ability of immunohistochemistry (IHC), multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC) and fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) to detect clonal plasma cells. We also attempted to outline a testing strategy for monitoring multiple myeloma patients.

Methods A retrospective review was performed on 278 CD138+sorted FISH studies from November 2019 to December 2020 along with their concurrent IHC and MFC results. A p value was computed using McNemar’s test for paired data. Association was calculated using the non-parametric Spearman correlation coefficient.

Results Using the Mc Nemar’s test for paired data, CD138+sorted FISH studies achieved the highest proportion of positive results and was significantly greater than MFC (63% vs 53%, p=0.01). FISH had more positive results than IHC, although this did not reach statistical significance (60% vs 57%, p=0.34). IHC and MFC had high correlation and high agreement (90.3% agreement, kappa=0.805, p<0.0001). CD138+sorted FISH studies achieved the highest proportion of positive results relative to IHC and MFC, indicating that it may be a reliable marker for clonal plasma cell detection.

Conclusions While CD138+sorted FISH is primarily used for prognostication, it may be employed as a single test for detection and monitoring clonality in certain scenarios. Further studies are needed to monitor the outcomes of patients with positive FISH and negative IHC and MFC. Additionally, there was high agreement between IHC and MFC, suggesting that performing both tests may not be necessary.

  • Multiple Myeloma

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