Chronic lymphocytic leukemia uses flow cytometry as part of testing methods, but how is it used? Watch to learn about the information provided by flow cytometry tests and how the information is used for CLL patients.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can be either a slower-growing or faster-growing type depending on the patient. There are several tests that CLL specialists use in diagnosing the condition – with flow cytometry being one of the testing tools.
Flow cytometry provides information about particle or cell characteristics including:
- DNA gene expression
- Total DNA
- Cell structure
- Cell size
- Newly-created DNA
- Amount and type of specific surface receptors
- Intracellular proteins
- Transient signaling
Dr. Lyndsey Roeker:
“So, at diagnosis flow cytometry is the first test done, and what that means is, you take all of your white blood cells in your blood, and you run them through a fancy machine that puts them into buckets. So, you have a bucket of your normal neutrophils, a bucket of your normal lymphocytes, and then you find this bucket of cells that look somewhat unusual. And those have a specific look, if you will, and if they look like CLL cells, that’s how we make the diagnosis.”
The properties found in flow cytometry help to determine the type of CLL that a patient has. CLL specialists then use flow cytometry results along with other blood tests, a patient’s medical history, and other signs and symptoms to establish CLL prognosis and treatment options. Flow cytometry is a key test that confirms CLL diagnosis by checking a patient’s bone marrow or blood cells for signs of CLL, and test results are used to help determine optimal care for each patient.