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Diagnosing enteropathy-associated intestinal T-cell lymphoma (EATL) involves a combination of blood tests, bone marrow tests, and imaging tests. These tests help to confirm the presence of the disease, determine its stage, and guide treatment decisions.

Blood Tests:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): This test measures the amount of different types of blood cells in a sample of your blood. Abnormal levels of white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets may suggest lymphoma.
  • Blood chemistry tests: These tests measure the levels of certain substances in your blood that can indicate how well your organs are functioning and whether lymphoma has affected them.
  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels: High levels of this enzyme in your blood can be a sign of lymphoma.
  • Celiac disease screening: In some cases, individuals with EATL may undergo hepatitis and celiac disease screening, as these conditions can be associated with EATL or contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms.

Biopsy Tests:

  • Immunohistochemistry: Immunohistochemistry is a laboratory technique used to identify specific proteins on the surface of cells. In EATL, immunohistochemistry can help distinguish T-cell lymphoma from other types of lymphoma or gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Molecular testing: This test may be performed to identify specific genetic markers or rearrangements associated with EATL. For example, detecting T-cell receptor gene rearrangements can provide additional diagnostic and prognostic information.

Imaging Tests:

  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan: This test uses x-rays to create detailed pictures of the inside of your body. It can help determine the location and size of lymphomas.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan: This test uses a small amount of radioactive glucose to find cancer cells in the body. It can help determine the stage of the lymphoma and whether treatment is working.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the inside of your body. It can help determine the extent of the lymphoma.
  • Endoscopy: Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and colonoscopy are crucial procedures for diagnosing EATL. During these procedures, a flexible tube with a camera (endoscope) is used to examine the inside of the digestive tract. Biopsies are typically taken from abnormal areas for further evaluation.

A Summary of Diagnosing Enteropathy-Associated Intestinal T-Cell Lymphoma

It's important to note that the diagnosis and classification of EATL is complex and requires a comprehensive evaluation by a team of specialists. A complete diagnosis requires a physical examination, looking at a biopsy sample under the microscope, immunophenotyping and often molecular genetic testing. The specific markers and genetic changes found in the biopsy sample can also help determine a person's prognosis and guide treatment decisions. If you don't currently have an EATL specialist on your team, it is important that you consult with one. Use HealthTree's EALT Specialist Directory to locate a specialist near you. 

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