Utility of white blood cell suspect flags and histogram pattern in the detection of acute leukemia by Advia-60 automated hematology analyzer

Kakkar, N.; Kaur, R.

Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology 47(3): 322-326


ISSN/ISBN: 0377-4929
PMID: 16295415
Accession: 050920959

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Blood samples from patients with acute leukemia, when analyzed with automated hematology counters, tend to introduce inaccuracies in the automated differential count and can cause diagnostic confusion without providing definite clues to the presence of abnormal cells. We designed this study to assess the utility of white blood cell (WBC) flags and histogram pattern generated by Advia-60 automated hematology analyzer in the recognition and categorization of acute leukemia. Data printouts of 31 newly diagnosed cases of acute leukemia, 22 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and 9 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were reviewed. All cases of AML and ALL generated the WBC suspect blastflag M2 associated with two of the non blast suspectflags G1 and G2. Among the cases of AML, 95.5% of the WBC histogram patterns were definitive of the presence of abnormal cells and were indicative of the myeloid nature of cells. Only 44.4% of the histograms in the cases of ALL could be definitive of the presence of abnormal cells and 33.3% were indicative of their lymphoid nature. Significantly, 55.5% of the histograms in ALL were normal. The false positives for both AML and ALL were 10.5% when only WBC flagging was considered and were reduced to 0.05% when the flags were combined with histogram patterns for interpretation. Combined flagging and histogram recognition can be of aid in identifying cases of acute leukemia and the morphologist can then assess these samples further. This ensures that cases of acute leukemia, especially in high output laboratories, are not inadvertently missed.