Clinical and laboratory factors contributing to uninterpretable beryllium lymphocyte proliferation tests (BeLPT)

Am J Ind Med. 2018 Jul;61(7):592-604. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22842. Epub 2018 Mar 24.


Background: The beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT), has become the principal clinical test for detecting beryllium sensitization and chronic beryllium disease. Uninterpretable BeLPT results can occur in a small but significant proportion of tests from poor lymphocyte growth (PG) or over proliferation of lymphocytes (OP). The clinical and laboratory causes of uninterpretable results are not known.

Methods: BeLPT data from the US Department of Energy-supported Former Worker Screening Program were analyzed for a 10-year period. Drivers of uninterpretable BeLPTs were investigated using multivariable models and classification techniques.

Results: Three participant attributes were significantly associated with PG, while OP showed no significant associations. Serum lot for the lymphocyte growth medium accounted for 21% of the variation in PG and 16% in OP.

Conclusion: Serum lots influence the likelihood of having uninterpretable BeLPT. To better understand uninterpretable results and possibly reduce their occurrence, additional laboratory-related factors should be addressed.

Keywords: BeLPT; BeS; CBD; chronic beryllium disease; lymphocyte proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Berylliosis / blood
  • Berylliosis / diagnosis*
  • Beryllium / pharmacology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occupational Exposure
  • United States


  • Beryllium