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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lymphoma

Question: Is a Basophil of 4% too high?

 watkibus - Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:57 pm

My husband is in remission (T-Cell lymphoblastic Lymphoma) and on oral maintenance chemo. He has been having acid or chemical smelling breath and todays blood work shows a Basophil of 4%. It has always been below 1% before. Is this a sign of cancer returning? Should we be concerned?
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:38 pm

User avatar Hi,
The differential basophil counts have poor diagnostic value. An absolute basophil count should always be obtained whenever the differential count shows higher basophil percentages.

The absolute basophil counts also have certain inherent difficulties which may make the counts unreliable and inaccurate. These difficulties are primarily on account of the sparsity of the cell population and to the instability of these cells. Inaccurate basophil counts are often a result of deterioration of the cells on standing (where a significant time interval occurs between drawing the blood sample and subsequent sample preparation and actual counting).

Thus, the “normal” laboratory reference ranges vary profusely.

Some of the sample absolute basophil counts from different laboratories are as follows:
- 0-0.19K/ul,
- 0 to 0.3 k/ul,
- 0.4 to 0.2K/ul etc.

Generally, an absolute count of over 50/ul is a subtle sign of allergic sensitization, whereas a count below 20 regularly accompanies allergic reactions.

Basophilia may also be found in association with
- myxedema,
- myeloproliferative disorders,
- hyperlipidaemia,
- ulcerative colitis,
- polycythemia vera, and
- chronic myeloid leukemia.

Basophils in the blood and mast cells in tissues are similar in many ways.They both contain granules which stain metachromially with toluidine blue and contain histamine and heparin. It is also thought that basophils on entering tissues, may get converted to mast cells. Increased mast cell numbers in the stroma of certain cancers is believed to be a good prognostic sign. This has been reported in cancers of the uterine cervix.

Therefore, at least there has been some evidence that basophils may be beneficial in certain cancers. I am not certain if the beneficial effect also applies to T-cell lymphoblastic lymphomas.
Best wishes!

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