Diagnosis for Eosinophilic Leukemia

Doctors perform many tests to find or diagnose cancer and they also do tests to see if cancer has spread to another part of the body from where it began. If this happens, it is metastasis, for instance, imaging tests can represent if cancer has spread, they show pictures of the body from the inside. Doctors can also do tests to learn which treatments would work best.

A biopsy is the sure shot way for the doctor to know if an area of the body has cancer for most types of cancer. In a biopsy, the doctor takes a small tissue sample for testing in a laboratory and the doctor may also suggest other tests if a biopsy cannot help diagnose.

The doctor may consider given factors when choosing a diagnostic test:

  • Your signs and symptoms
  • The age and general health status
  • The type of cancer suspected
  • The result of earlier medical tests

The below-mentioned tests are in use to diagnose Eosinophilic leukemia,

Blood tests

The diagnosis of eosinophilic leukemia begins with a complete blood count (CBC) test. A CBC measures the number of different types of cells in the blood. If the blood contains many eosinophils, eosinophilic leukemia is a suspect.

Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy

A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy may help determine a prognosis for a few patients the chance of recovery. It may also provide more information about why other blood tests are abnormal. A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy is similar and often done simultaneously to evaluate the bone marrow, the fatty, spongy tissue found inside larger bones. Bone marrow has both a liquid and a solid part. A bone marrow aspiration takes a sample of the fluid using a needle. A bone marrow biopsy removes a small quantity of solid tissue using a needle. A pathologist then reviews the samples in a lab. Pelvic bone located by the hip is a common site for bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. Doctors generally give “anesthesia” medication beforehand to numb the area, this medication blocks the awareness of pain. 

Many immature cells, known as blasts in the bone marrow, signify acute rather than chronic eosinophilic leukemia. This article does not cover acute eosinophilic leukemia and the treatment is similar to AML.

Molecular testing

Your doctor may recommend running laboratory tests on the eosinophils to identify specific genes, proteins, and other factors unique to the leukemia. If many eosinophils are seen, a molecular genetic analysis should be done to test for a genetic mutation that makes an abnormal protein called FIP1-like-1/platelet-derived growth factor-alpha or FIP1L1-PDGFRa. The types of molecular testing that may be used include-

Immunophenotyping examines antigens, a specific type of protein, on the surface of the leukaemia cells. Immunophenotyping helps the doctor to confirm the exact type of leukaemia.

Cytogenetics examines the leukemia cells for abnormal changes to the long strands of genes called chromosomes. It helps doctors confirm the diagnosis and can help determine the person’s chance of recovery.

These tests help decide whether your treatment options include a type of treatment called targeted therapy.

Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan

A CT scan takes pictures of the body from inside using x-rays taken from different angles. A computer then combines these pictures to a 3-dimensional image that shows abnormalities or tumors. The scan determines the tumor’s size and occasionally, they give a specific dye called a contrast medium before the scan to provide detail on the image. This dye can be delivered into a patient’s vein or provided as a pill or liquid to swallow.

Evaluation of the heart

People who have had many eosinophils for a long time often have problems with heart function and rhythm. The doctor may recommend an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) or an echocardiogram (ECHO). An EKG is a non-invasive test that checks for abnormal heart rhythms or heart damage. An ECHO is a non-invasive test that looks at the structure and function of the heart using sound waves and an electronic sensor.