Show Summary Details
Page of

Diagnostic techniques in the assessment of haematological malignancies 

Diagnostic techniques in the assessment of haematological malignancies
Diagnostic techniques in the assessment of haematological malignancies

Wendy N. Erber

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 February 2021

The diagnosis of haematological malignancies requires an understanding of the diseases and the uses and limitations of the range of available investigations. The relative importance of different investigations varies by disease entity. The blood count is one of the most widely used tests in all of medicine and often the first indication of an underlying haematological malignancy. Some blood count features are ‘diagnostic’ and others may give an indication of a bone marrow defect. Morphological assessment of a stained blood film adds value to an abnormal blood count. It may identify abnormal morphology of red cells, leucocytes, or platelets which may be specific and diagnostic, or give clues suggesting a diagnosis. Bone marrow aspirate (liquid sample) gives cytological detail, and trephine biopsy provides information about marrow cellularity, architecture, cellular distribution, and extent of fibrosis. Immunophenotyping detects cellular antigens in clinical samples and is essential in the diagnosis and classification of haematological malignancies. It is also used for disease staging and monitoring, to detect surrogate markers of genetic aberrations, identify potential immunotherapeutic targets, and to aid prognostic prediction. Cytogenetics assesses the number and structure of whole chromosomes and chromosomal regions in neoplastic cells and is performed to diagnose and classify some haematological malignancies. Molecular genetic methods facilitate the detection of mutations, rearrangements, or translocations in genes. Applications in malignant haematology include confirming clonality, detecting disease-associated genotypes, determining prognosis, disease monitoring following therapy, predicting imminent clinical relapse, and identifying patients who are likely (or not) to respond to new targeted inhibitor therapies.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.