A recently developed, highly sensitive method of detecting lymphoma cells in peripheral blood may enable more accurate diagnosis of aplasia following chemotherapy as well as earlier detection of relapse.
In two published studies the method has been highly efficient in finding abnormal cells in cases where none had been found by conventional methods.
The new technique depends on the facts that (1) 80% of lymphomas, which are solid tumors of the lymph nodes, are composed of B lymphocytes, and (2) these malignant B cells are monoclonal in origin. This means that the immunoglobulin on the surface of the malignant B lymphocytes is all of one type and contains either κ or λ light chains exclusively.
Since in the normal state there are approximately equal numbers of lymphocytes expressing κ or λ chains, the presence of malignant cells will skew the distribution of lymphocytes toward an excess of those bearing one