Classification of feline lymphoma

From Cat

Feline lymphoma is more commonly B cell in origin, with the anatomic location being a factor in the immunophenotypic pre­sentation[1].

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[2]. Clinically important CD antigens include CD3 (T cell) and CD79 (B cell)[3].

Immunocytochemistry involves the use of special stains, particularly immunoperoxidase, to detect specific antigens on a cell's surface[4]. 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[5]. 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[6]. 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[7].

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[8].


  1. Ettinger SN (2003) Principles of treatment for feline lymphoma. Clin Tech Small Anim Pract 18(2):98-102
  2. Couto CG (2001) What is new on feline lymphoma? J Feline Med Surg 3(4):171-176
  3. Fan TM (2003) Lymphoma updates. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 33(3):455-471
  4. Andrews JM, Malarkey DE (2001) Advanced diagnostic techniques, in Raskin RE, Meyer DJ (eds): Atlas of Canine and Feline Cytology. Philadelphia, WB Saunders, pp:401-410
  5. Raskin RE, Valenciano A (2000) Cytochemistry of normal leukocytes, in Feldman BF, Zinkl KG, Jain NC (eds): Schalm's Veterinary Hematology. Maryland, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, pp:337-346
  6. Chabanne L, Bonnefont C, Bernaud J, et al (2000) Clinical applications of flow cytometry and cell immunophenotyping to companion animals (dog and cat). Methods Cell Sci 22(2-3):199-207
  7. Dhaliwal RS, Kitchell BE, Messick JB (2003) Canine lymphosarcoma: Clinical features. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 25(8):572-581
  8. Malik R, Gabor LJ, Foster SF, et al (2001) Therapy for Australian cats with lymphosarcoma. Aust Vet J 79(12):808-817