A retrospective study of flow cytometric characterization of suspected extranodal lymphomas in dogs

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2018 Nov;30(6):830-836. doi: 10.1177/1040638718804301. Epub 2018 Sep 28.


Flow cytometry (FC) is widely applied to characterize and stage nodal lymphomas in dogs because it has a short turnaround time, requires minimally invasive sampling, and allows contemporary evaluation of neoplastic cells in the primary lesion and of blood and marrow involvement. We investigated advantages and limitations of FC in suspected extranodal lymphomas in dogs. The likelihood of obtaining a suitable FC sample was significantly lower for aspirates of extranodal lesions than for lymph node aspirates. However, we noted no differences among different extranodal lesion sites. We also describe FC results for 39 samples compatible with extranodal lymphoma. A dominant population of large cells was easily identified on morphologic FC scattergrams in many cases. Phenotypic aberrancies were frequently present, mainly in T-cell lymphomas. Lymphoma cells were distinguishable from normal residual lymphocytes in >85% of cases, facilitating the quantification of putative blood and marrow involvement by FC. Despite the high percentage of non-diagnostic samples (32 of 73, >40%), we support the inclusion of FC in the diagnostic workup of suspected extranodal lymphomas in dogs, in conjunction with histopathology. Histopathology is the gold standard for diagnosing lymphoma, provides relevant information, including tissue invasion and epitheliotropism, but has a longer turnaround time.

Keywords: Dogs; extranodal lymphoma; flow cytometry.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dogs
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Flow Cytometry / veterinary*
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma / etiology
  • Lymphoma / veterinary*
  • Retrospective Studies