Bone Marrow Biopsy – Reasons, Types, Results & Pain

Bone marrow biopsy results

After the biopsy specimen or aspirate is sent to the lab, results come out:

  • To confirm or contradict the diagnosis.
  • Stage the disease
  • Show response to treatment.

Biopsy results mainly involve the following categories:

Cellularity

This is a general look on the number of cells in the bone marrow. A hypercellular bone marrow can be an indication of cancer or increased peripheral destruction of blood cells with an associated increased production, as in cases of hypersplenism -a condition which involves an enlarged spleen that excessively destroys blood cells-. On the other hand, a hypocellular bone marrow can be seen in aplastic anemia or bone marrow failure.

Cellular components

Which is a specified view on the bone marrow and its different cells. The presence of blast cells is normal in the bone marrow as long as they don’t exceed 20%. Otherwise, it is a sure diagnosis of acute leukemia.

Abnormal components

Some components of a bone marrow biopsy are abnormal and shouldn’t be there, as in cases of hemochromatosis, in which excessive iron is deposited in the marrow. Other examples include Gaucher and Niemann-Pick diseases, in which excessive fat is found, or amyloidosis in which excessive amounts of an abnormal protein called amyloid are deposited in the bone marrow, encroaching on the normal cells.

Immunophenotyping

This type of investigation is directed towards the identification of the source of malignant cells. Bone marrow cancers as leukemia are known to be monoclonal, which means that they originated from a single mother cell, and proving this relationship is enough to both diagnose cancer and to know whether this leukemia is myeloid or lymphoid.