Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

The utility of flow cytometry in differentiating NK/T cell lymphoma from indolent and reactive NK cell proliferations. Cytometry B Clin Cytom 2018 01;94(1):159-168



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85018373794   11 Citations


BACKGROUND: The WHO defines three categories of NK cell malignancies; extra nodal NK/T cell lymphoma (NKTCL), aggressive NK cell leukemia, and the provisional entity chronic lymphoproliferative disorder of NK cells (CLPD-NK). Although the flow cytometric (FC) phenotype of CLPD-NK has been described, studies on FC phenotype of NKTCL are limited. To the best of our knowledge ours is the first study to compare the phenotype of NKTCL, CLPD-NK, reactive NK lymphocytosis (RNKL), and normal NK cells using eight color (8C) FC.

METHODS: Specimens analyzed using the Euroflow8C NK Lymphoproliferative Disorder (NKLPD) panel between 2011 and 2014 were identified from our database. All samples were analyzed on the FACSCantoII cytometer. NK cells were identified as CD45+, smCD3-, CD19-, CD56+ and normal T-cells served as internal controls.

RESULTS: The majority of NKTCL were CD56 bright, CD16 dim, CD57-, and CD94+. CLPD-NK and RNKL were predominantly CD56+ or dim with positive expression of CD16 and CD57 and weak CD94 expression. Antigen based statistical analyses showed robust division of samples along the NKTCL/normal CD56 bright NK cell and CLPD-NK/RNKL/normal CD56 positive NK cell groups.

CONCLUSIONS: It was concluded that FC can reliably distinguish NKTCL from CLPD-NK, normal NK cells of CD56+ phenotype, and RNKL. It was proposed that the typical phenotype for NKTCL is: CD56 bright, CD16 dim with positive CD2, CD7, CD94, HLADR, CD25, CD26, and absent CD57. This resembles the phenotype of the CD56 bright immunoregulatory subset of NK cells which we therefore hypothesize is the cell of origin of NKTCL. © 2017 International Clinical Cytometry Society.

Author List

de Mel S, Li JB, Abid MB, Tang T, Tay HM, Ting WC, Poon LM, Chung TH, Mow B, Tso A, Ong KH, Chng WJ, Liu TC


Muhammad Bilal Abid MD Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Antigens, CD
Cell Proliferation
Flow Cytometry
Killer Cells, Natural
Lymphoma, T-Cell
Lymphoproliferative Disorders