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B-cell leukemia/lymphoma panel

Definition

B-cell leukemia/lymphoma panel is a test that looks for certain proteins on the surface of white blood cells called B-lymphocytes. The proteins serve as markers that may be helpful in diagnosing leukemia or lymphoma.

Alternative Names

B lymphocyte cell surface markers

How the test is performed

A blood sample is needed. Blood is drawn in the following way:

  • The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic).
  • The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
  • The health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein.
  • The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle.
  • The elastic band is removed from your arm.
  • The needle is removed.
  • The puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. Afterward, a bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.

In some cases, white blood cells are removed during a bone marrow biopsy. The sample may also be taken during a lymph node biopsy or other biopsy when lymphoma is suspected.

The blood sample is sent to a laboratory, where a specialist checks the cell type and characteristics. This procedure is called immunophenotyping. The test is usually done using a technique called flow cytometry.

How to prepare for the test

No special preparation is usually necessary.

How the test will feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed

This test may be performed:

  • When other tests (such as a blood smear) show signs of abnormal white blood cells
  • When leukemia or lymphoma is suspected
  • To find out the type of leukemia or lymphoma

What abnormal results mean

What the risks are

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Special considerations

This special test may not be available at all laboratories.

References

Appelbaum FR. The acute leukemias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 189.

Bierman PJ, Armitage JO. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 191.

Kantarjian H, O'brien S. The chronic leukemias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 190.

Najfeld V. Conventional and molecular cytogenetic basis of hematologic malignancies. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2008:chap 55.


Review Date: 3/4/2013
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Blackman, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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