Download the Immunophenotyping Reference Table for Hematopoietic Malignancies

Immunophenotyping is the analysis of heterogeneous populations of cells for the purpose of identifying the presence and proportions of the various populations of interest. Antibodies are used to identify cells by detecting specific antigens expressed by these cells, which are known as markers. These markers are usually functional membrane proteins involved in cell communication, adhesion, or metabolism.

The cluster of differentiation (also known as cluster of designation or classification determinant and often abbreviated as CD) system is commonly used for identification of these cell markers in immunophenotyping. The CD nomenclature was proposed and established in the 1st International Workshop and Conference on Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens (HLDA). This system was intended for the classification of the many monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated by different laboratories around the world against epitopes on the surface molecules of leukocytes (white blood cells). Since then, its use has expanded to many other cell types, and more than 400 CD unique clusters and subclusters have been identified.

Cell populations are usually defined using a '+' or a '−' symbol to indicate whether a certain cell population expresses or lacks a CD molecule. Some cell populations can also be defined as hi, mid or low (alternatively bright, mid or dim), indicating an overall variability in CD expression, particularly when compared to other cells being studied.

The Immunophenotyping reference table provides a quick guide for the most common immunophenotypes based on the Bethesda guidelines and the WHO classification of hematopoietic malignancies. For ease of use the poster is separated into two sections, one for Chronic or mature diseases and another for Acute or immature diseases.

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  1. “Cluster of Differentiation.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 July 2018,
  2. Human Cell Differentiation Molecules is an organization which runs HLDA (Human Leucocyte Differentiation Antigens) Workshops and names and characterizes CD molecules.
  3. WHO Classification of Tumours of Hæmatopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues, 4th Edition. Swerdlow SH et al. : IARC Press, Lyon. 2008.
  4. 2006 Bethesda International Consensus Recommendations on the Immunophenotypic Analysis of Hematolymphoid Neoplasia by Flow Cytometry: Optimal reagents and reporting for the flow cytometric diagnosis of hematopoietic neoplasia. Cytometry Part B (Clinical Cytometry), Wood BL et al., 72B:S14-22. 2007.

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