Immunophenotyping is a process used to identify cells based on the types of antigens or proteins on the surface of the cell. This process is used to diagnose specific types of leukemia and lymphoma by comparing cancer cells to their normal counterparts. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry are the two tests used to provide optimal immunophenotyping.
For this test, a doctor takes a blood sample or does a bone marrow aspiration to get a bone marrow sample. Immunophenotyping helps pinpoint which type of white blood cell has become malignant. It measures the types and amounts of antigens on the surfaces of leukemia cells. Antigens are substances that prompt an immune response. These antigens show the doctor what type of leukemia is present and how the leukemia may grow or spread. Results from this test may take a few days. In some cases, immunophenotyping is used to check progress during treatment.