B-cell leukemia/lymphoma panel

B-cell leukemia/lymphoma panel is a test that looks for certain proteins on the surface of white blood cells called B-lymphocytes. The proteins serve as markers that may be helpful in diagnosing leukemia or lymphoma.

How the Test is Performed

A sample of white blood cells is obtained by drawing blood from a vein. Less commonly, the sample is taken from a bone marrow biopsy. The test also may be done from a sample taken after a lymph node biopsy when lymphoma is suspected.

Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.

Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.

In the laboratory, the sample of white blood cells will be tested to determine the cell type and characteristics (immunophenotyping). The test is usually done by a technique called flow cytometry.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is usually necessary.

How the Test Will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is Performed

This test may be performed:

  • When other tests (such as a blood smear) indicate abnormal white blood cells
  • When leukemia or lymphoma is suspected
  • To determine the type of leukemia or lymphoma

What Abnormal Results Mean

  • B-cell lymphocytic leukemia
  • Lymphoma

Risks

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Considerations

This test is highly specialized and may not be available at all general laboratories.

Alternative Names

B lymphocyte cell surface markers