Diagnosis of Chronic T-cell Lymphocytic Leukemia

Many tests are performed to find or diagnose cancer. 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 called metastasis. For instance, imaging tests can represent if cancer has spread. Imaging tests 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 short 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. The doctor may 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 may be used to diagnose Chronic T-cell Leukemia-

  • Blood tests – The diagnosis of T-cell leukaemia starts with a blood test called a complete blood count that measures the levels of different types of cells in the blood. T-cell leukaemia may be suspected if the blood contains many white blood cells.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy – A bone marrow biopsy is usually not required to diagnose CLL, but it may be done before beginning treatment. A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy may help determine a prognosis for a few patients, which is 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 ” anaesthesia ” medication beforehand to numb the area. Anaesthesia is a medication that blocks the awareness of pain.
  • Molecular testing- Your doctor may recommend running laboratory tests on a bone marrow sample to identify specific genes, proteins, and other factors unique to the disease.
    • 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 leukaemia 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.

  • Biopsy- A biopsy removes a small amount of tissue for examination through a microscope. A pathologist then analyzes the sample. In addition to a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, the following types of biopsy may be needed depending on the type of T-cell leukaemia suspected:
    • Skin biopsy- During a skin biopsy, a sample of skin tissue is removed to look for T cells in the skin.
    • Lymph node biopsy- In a lymph node biopsy, the doctor removes all or part of a lymph node to look for leukaemia cells.

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 into a detailed, 3-dimensional image showing abnormalities or tumours. A CT scan can be used to determine the tumour’s size. Occasionally, a specific dye called a contrast medium is given 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.