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Research Article

The biology of tumor growth in the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. A dual parameter flow cytometry study of 220 cases.

S E Shackney, A M Levine, R I Fisher, P Nichols, E Jaffe, W H Schuette, R Simon, C A Smith, S J Occhipinti and J W Parker

Published April 1984

Dual parameter flow cytometry studies (cell DNA content and electronic cell volume) were performed in 220 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. All cases were characterized as B or T cell malignancies, based on immunologic surface marker characteristics. Aneuploidy by flow cytometry was more common among the B cell lymphomas than among the T cell lymphomas, and was most common among the large B cell lymphomas and B cell lymphomas of intermediate size. Ploidy index distributions showed a prominent hyperdiploid peak, as well as tumor cell populations with near-tetraploid DNA contents. In serial studies, a decrease in ploidy index was observed in association with clinical and histologic transformation in one case. The highest S fractions were observed among the large and intermediate B cell lymphomas and among the aggressive T cell lymphomas. In clinical samples consisting of mixtures of diploid and aneuploid populations, the data on the aneuploid components could often be separated from other components of the mixture in multiparameter studies on the basis of the larger electronic cell volumes of the aneuploid cells. In each case, the aneuploid large cell component almost invariably had a higher S fraction than the residual component(s) of the mixture. Overall, the data are consistent with a model of clonal selection and clonal evolution in the lymphomas in which early cytogenetic abnormalities that involve little or no change in total cell DNA content are followed by cell tetraploidization that is associated with cytogenetic instability and chromosome loss over the course of time.

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