The diagnostic value of immunological leukemia phenotyping using a panel of reagents in immunofluorescence assays was assessed in 309 consecutive patients. The cells from 307 patients could be clearly phenotyped and assigned to one of the subgroups with a definite immunophenotype. Each phenotype was characterized by a distinct marker profile. A simplified classification scheme based on surface antigen expression is presented. A combination of complementary reagents (‘first panel’) was used for the first-line screening. The application of selected reagents from the ‘second panel’ allowed for further subtyping and confirmation of the primary diagnosis. The contribution of different key reagents to the identification of distinct immunophenotypes is discussed. Multiple marker analysis, i.e. the combination of information from several disciplines, is a necessary and very useful tool in the routine investigation of patients with hematopoietic malignancies.

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