GeneScanning analysis of Ig/TCR gene rearrangements to detect clonality in canine lymphomas

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2009 Jan 15;127(1-2):47-56. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2008.09.014. Epub 2008 Sep 23.


The diagnosis of canine lymphoma is achieved using morphological and immunological methods. In a certain percentage of cases, difficulties in making a definitive diagnosis of lymphoproliferative disorders may occur despite extensive immunophenotyping. Therefore, additional diagnostics, such as molecular assessment of Ig/TCR gene rearrangements clonality, may confirm the final diagnosis. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and heteroduplex analysis have already been proven to be suitable for detecting clonality but are cumbersome and labor-intensive. In the present study, GeneScanning analysis of PCR products originating from different primer sets targeting different regions of Ig and TCR was validated in improving sensitivity as well as in reducing the turnaround time of gene rearrangement assays. GeneScanning exploits 5' fluorescently labelled primers for the automated and fast analysis of PCR products either as singleplex or multiplex runs. Initially, the assay was set up using DNA purified from normal tissues (n=6), hyperplastic/reactive tissues (n=10) and a small set of immunophenotyped lymphoma samples (n=12). The optimized methods were then used in a large set of 96 canine lymphoma samples. Normal and hyperplastic/reactive lymphoid tissues showed typically polyclonal or, occasionally, oligoclonal PCR products. Lymphoma samples showed monoclonal peaks arranged as a single or, occasionally, a double narrow base peak sometimes embedded in a polyclonal background. In all immunophenotyped cases, an Ig or TCR clonal finding corresponded to B- and T-cell lymphomas, respectively. Overall, 94/96 (97.9%) samples showed clonal Ig/TCR clonal rearrangements among which clonal Ig was found in 61/96 (63.5%) of samples and clonal TCR in 33/35 Ig negative samples (34.4% of all cases). In one out of ten randomly chosen cases, both Ig and TCR clonal gene rearrangements were found. Among the factors affecting assay accuracy, DNA quality has been shown to be critical and the amplification of DNA controls of different size are recommended to evaluate DNA integrity. Frozen material such as that which remained inside the hub of the needle used for diagnostic procedures is optimal for the analysis herein described. In conclusion, GeneScanning represents a versatile tool for routinely assessing Ig/TCR clonal rearrangements and supporting the diagnostic protocol of canine lymphomas.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dog Diseases / immunology*
  • Dogs
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte*
  • Gene Rearrangement, T-Lymphocyte*
  • Genetic Techniques / veterinary
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma / genetics
  • Lymphoma / immunology
  • Lymphoma / veterinary*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm