In patients with follicular lymphoma (FL), it is unresolved whether peripheral blood (PB) can replace bone marrow (BM) aspirate samples for detection of bcl-2/JH fusion sequences that result from the t(14; 18)(g32;q21). We compare here the results of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) analysis for bcl-2/JH involving the major breakpoint cluster region (mbr) on paired PB and BM aspirate samples from 60 consecutive FL patients. There was a significant correlation between the level of bcl-2/JH fusion sequence obtained from PB and BM aspirate samples (r = 0.886), with 82% of samples showing less than one log of difference. Patients who had histological evidence of FL involving concurrent BM biopsy specimens had moderate to high levels of bcl-2/JH in both PB and BM aspirate samples, allowing unequivocal determination of translocation status (median bcl-2/JH to cyclophilin level was 8.014%). In contrast, patients with no detectable FL in their BM biopsy specimens often showed low levels of bcl-2/JH in both PB and BM aspirate samples (bcl-2/JH to cyclophilin median level = 0.006%), in a range similar to background levels that could be detected in patients without FL (n = 15, median bcl-2 mbr/JH to cyclophilin level = 0.002%). We conclude that PB can be used in place of BM aspirate samples to test for the presence of bcl-2 mbr/JH fusion sequence in FL patients and that either PB or BM aspirate testing yields a rough approximation of the degree of BM involvement by FL. However, in patients with minimal levels of bcl-2/JH in PB or BM aspirate samples, confirmation of this result by testing the primary tumor is recommended to confirm the presence of an identical bcl-2/JH fusion sequence and exclude false-positive results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Medicine