A 17-year-old boy is diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. Which of the following laboratory findings is the pathologic hallmark of this disease?

Identification of Reed-Sternberg cells

Explanation

•In Hodgkin’s disease, lymphocytes proliferate and special Reed-Sternberg cells are found during the microscopic examination of the lymph node tissue. Reed-Sternberg cells are giant but non-functioning germinal B cells that have not expressed their antibody.

•Lymphomas are malignancies of the lymphocytes causing uncontrolled proliferation. Lymphomas usually present as a solid tumor on lymphoid tissue.

Incorrect options:

•An elevated sedimentation rate indicates inflammation and would be associated with a worse prognosis, but is not a pathologic hallmark sign.

•Liver and thyroid tests are usually ordered to measure the extent of disease, but findings are not specific to Hodgkin's disease.

•Philadelphia chromosome is a specific chromosomal abnormality that is found in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), not Hodgkin's disease.

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