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Automated Colorimetric In Situ Hybridization (CISH) Detection of Immunoglobulin (Ig) Light Chain mRNA Expression in Plasma Cell (PC) Dyscrasias and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Beck, Rose C. M.D., Ph.D.; Tubbs, Raymond R. D.O.; Hussein, Mohamad M.D.; Pettay, James M.T.; Hsi, Eric D. M.D.

Diagnostic Molecular Pathology: March 2003 - Volume 12 - Issue 1 - pp 14-20
Original Articles

Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is frequently used to detect plasma cell (PC) or B cell monoclonality in histologic sections, but its interpretation is often confounded by background staining. We evaluated a new automated method for colorimetric in situ hybridization (CISH) detection of clonality in PC dyscrasias and small B cell lymphomas. Cases of PC dyscrasia included multiple myeloma (MM; 31 cases), plasmacytoma (seven cases), or amyloidosis (one case), while cases of lymphoma included small lymphocytic (three cases), marginal zone (four cases), lymphoplasmacytic (three cases), and mantle cell lymphomas (three cases). Tissue sections were stained for kappa and lambda light chains by IHC and for light chain mRNA by automated CISH using haptenated probes. Twenty-eight of 31 MM cases had detectable light chain restriction by IHC. Thirty of 31 MM cases demonstrated light chain restriction by CISH, including 2 cases with uninterpretable IHC and one case of nonsecretory myeloma, which was negative for light chains by IHC. Seven of 7 plasmacytoma cases had detectable light chain restriction by CISH, including one case of nonsecretory plasmacytoma in which IHC was noninformative. Automated CISH demonstrated monoclonality in 9 of 13 cases of B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had a slightly higher sensitivity than IHC (6 of 13 cases), especially in cases of lymphoplasmacytic and marginal zone lymphoma. Overall, there were no discrepancies in light chain restriction results between IHC, CISH, or serum paraprotein analysis. Automated CISH is useful in detecting light chain expression in paraffin sections and appeared superior to IHC for light chain detection in PC dyscrasias and B cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, predominantly due to lack of background staining.

From the Departments of Clinical Pathology and Hematology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Eric D. Hsi, Department of Clinical Pathology, L-11, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195 (e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.