Application of BIOMED-2 clonality assays to formalin-fixed paraffin embedded follicular lymphoma specimens: superior performance of the IGK assays compared to IGH for suboptimal specimens

Leuk Lymphoma. 2007 Jul;48(7):1338-43. doi: 10.1080/10428190701377022.


The BIOMED-2 PCR-based immunoglobulin gene rearrangement assays have quickly become the most commonly used laboratory method for detection of B-cell clonality. Therefore, the reliability of these assays under various conditions has become increasingly important. When studying paired cases of follicular lymphoma (FL) from individual patients, we used these assays to assess clonality in 40 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens from 19 patients diagnosed with FL. The assays of IGH rearrangement failed to give a clonal result in 26/40 (65%) specimens, while the IGK assays failed in only 3/40 (8%) specimens. The high failure rate of the IGH assays for this set of FFPE lymphomas cannot be explained by systematic problems with DNA extraction or amplification because the same IGH assays resulted in a low failure rate (3/32, 9%) for FFPE small lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia specimens and for fresh frozen FL specimens (1/6, 17%). Furthermore, in a second validation set of 13 FFPE follicular lymphoma the failure rate was 9/13 (69%). Therefore, the BIOMED-2 IGH assay did not perform well on FFPE follicular lymphoma specimens, and the IGK assay may be superior for assessing clonality when no fresh/frozen tissue is available.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Clone Cells / pathology*
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / pathology*
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains