Classification of feline lymphoma
Immunophenotyping of lymphoma has become a useful tool to determine the cell type involved and provide prognostic information. These techniques use antibodies to label clusters of differentiation (CD) antigens on the surface of cells. Clinically important CD antigens include CD3 (T cell) and CD79 (B cell).
Immunocytochemistry involves the use of special stains, particularly immunoperoxidase, to detect specific antigens on a cell's surface. These stains can differentiate cell lines, such as lymphoid, epithelial, or mesenchymal, and can also be used to differentiate subtype neoplasms, such as the B- and T-cell subtypes of lymphoma. Flow cytometry can be used to determine the presence of surface markers on the neoplastic lymphocytes in cell suspensions, thereby establishing the cell subtypes involved. Flow cytometry can also be used to differentiate lymphoid cells from other cell lines, such as granulocytic and monocytic cells. Polymerase chain reaction testing can detect lymphocyte subtypes and determine whether the cell population is monoclonal or polyclonal.
In general, immunophenotypic studies are more readily available in dogs than in cats, and immunophenotyping of feline lymphomas is less useful as a prognostic indicator than it is in dogs. Immunophenotyping lymphomas has not had the prognostic power in cats that it has had in humans and dogs. Therefore, in cats, the most useful prognostic indicators are still retroviral status, anatomic location, and initial response to therapy.
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