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Recent advances in the molecular diagnosis of canine and feline lymphoma

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Clonality is a fundamental property of neoplasia and the evaluation of the clonal nature of a lymphocyte population within tissue samples is commonly used as an adjunctive diagnostic procedure in humans. In recent years, molecular techniques have become available for the diagnosis of canine, feline and equine lymphoproliferative disorders. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for antigen receptor rearrangement is a method used for the detection of clonal lymphocyte populations based on the assessment of diversity within the complementary determining region 3 of the immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region genes and the T cell receptor gamma genes. It represents a sensitive and flexible PCR assay system for the analysis of various source materials e.g. fine needle aspirates, whole blood, bone marrow, cerebrospinal fluid also allowing retrospective studies based on formaline fixed paraffin embedded material. In addition to the clinical, cytological, histological and immunophenotyping data of a single patient, this technique is a suitable adjunctive method in distinguishing ambiguous cases in which morphology cannot distinguish between a reactive or neoplastic lymphocytic population. However every molecular method transferred into diagnostic routine must be standardised, validated and controlled to ensure high quality results that have far reaching consequences for the patient. This lecture will give an introduction to the method of clonality testing in dogs and cats, will discuss indication, preanalytic considerations, recommendations for assay performance and interpretation, sensitivity/specificity and will present patient case examples showing the routine practical application.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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