Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry analyzes blood or bone marrow cells to determine whether a high white cell count is the result of blood cancer. The test identifies cells as they flow through an instrument called a flow cytometer.1

Flow cytometric immunophenotyping evaluates individual cells in suspension for the presence and absence of specific antigens (phenotype). This method can identify cells of different lineages and determine whether they are mature or immature—including the distinction from immature cells normally present in the bone marrow and thymus, and the determination of lineage in order to differentiate between acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).2

Throughout the disease trajectory, flow cytometry may be useful for monitoring response to treatment and documenting relapse or progression.2

For more than a decade, flow cytometric immunophenotyping has been an indispensable diagnostic tool. Improvements in flow cytometry instrumentation and availability of additional antibodies and fluorochromes have led to enhanced identification of abnormal cell populations.2

Immunohistochemistry (IHC)2

IHC utilizes antibodies to detect specific antigens, which are expressed in certain cancer cells. This is considered an advantage compared to older techniques that were only able to identify a limited number of proteins, enzymes, and tissue structures.3

References: 1. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Blood tests. Accessed January 22, 2019. 2. Craig FE, Foon KA. Flow cytometric immunophenotyping for hematologic neoplasms. Blood. 2008;111(8):3941-3967. 3. Duraiyan J, Govindarajan R, Kaliyappan K, Palanisamy M. Applications of immunohistochemistry. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2012;4(2):S307-S309.