Cytology and the cell block method in diagnostic characterization of canine lymphadenopathy and in the immunophenotyping of nodal lymphoma

Daniel A. Heinrich, Anne C. Avery, Michael S. Henson, Jed A. Overmann, Aaron K. Rendahl, Jillian Z. Walz, Davis M. Seelig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Minimally invasive techniques used to evaluate canine peripheral lymphadenopathy (PLN), including fine needle aspiration biopsy with cytological evaluation (FNAB-C) and flow cytometry (FC), have benefits and limitations. The cell block (CB) method is an alternate processing technique in which fine needle aspirate biopsy samples are concentrated, fixed, and embedded in paraffin for routine histological processing/staining. Utilizing three observers, we determined the diagnostic value of the CB in evaluating canine PLN across six categories (non-diagnostic, reactive, inflammatory/infectious, probable lymphoma and lymphoma, metastatic neoplasia) and correlated findings to immunophenotypic and clonal antigen receptor rearrangement results in canine nodal lymphoma. Eighty-five paired FNAB-C and CB samples were evaluated from canine patients presenting to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Oncology or Internal Medicine services. Diagnostic quality samples were obtained in 55/85 (65%) CB and 81/85 (95%) FNAB-C samples, respectively, and nodal pathology impacted CB diagnostic yield. Overall percent agreement between diagnostic-quality FNAB-C and CB samples was 86%, but increased to 95% if the categories of lymphoma and probable lymphoma were combined. There was 100% agreement for both the diagnoses of metastatic neoplasia and reactive lymph nodes and 92% agreement for the diagnosis of lymphoma/probable lymphoma. Using immunohistochemistry (IHC), CB samples correctly immunophenotyped 22/23 (96%) cases of B-cell lymphoma, but only 1/6 (17%) cases of T-cell lymphoma. IHC was not completed on nine cases of lymphoproliferative disease because of insufficient cellularity. When the CB method (CBM) yielded diagnostic quality samples there was good to excellent agreement with FNAB-C samples and CB samples were suitable for some IHC tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-375
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary and Comparative Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • CD20
  • CD3
  • dog
  • histopathology
  • immunohistochemistry
  • lymph node


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