Int J Lab Hematol. 2014 Jun;36(3):279-88. doi: 10.1111/ijlh.12212.


An increased white blood cell count, or leukocytosis, is a common laboratory finding. Appropriate specimen evaluation depends on which lineages are increased and the morphologic findings on peripheral blood smear review to guide further testing. The presence of blasts is concerning for acute leukemia and may require bone marrow biopsy. Lymphocytosis may be morphologically divided into polymorphic and monomorphic populations. Polymorphic lymphocytosis is most consistent with a reactive process, while monomorphic populations are concerning for lymphoproliferative neoplasm. The differential can be further narrowed based on morphologic findings. Myeloid leukocytosis can occur in a number of reactive conditions as well as myeloid malignancies. The types of cells present and morphology can help to guide additional workup. This study provides guidance for the appropriate evaluation and further workup of leukocytosis.

Keywords: Leukocytosis; lymphocytosis; lymphoma; morphology; neutrophilia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Leukocytes / pathology
  • Leukocytosis / diagnosis*
  • Leukocytosis / etiology*
  • Lymphocytosis / diagnosis
  • Lymphocytosis / etiology