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Why is dry tap found during bone marrow aspiration in leukaemia?

  1. Sep 20, 2013 #1
    Dry tap means failure to obtain any material at all during bone marrow aspiration.

    In leukaemia, aren't you supposed to find at least some material, like abnormally growing cancer cells? Similarly, in multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells can be found.

    But in my haematology textbook, it's said that dry tap is found in cases of multiple myeloma, leukaemia etc. Why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2013 #2

    This particular study (abstract) did not mention multiple myeloma, but any condition that can lead to hypercellularity and/or fibrosis in the bone marrow can create a mechanical barrier to aspiration due to increased tissue density. The listed conditions in this article include chronic myeloid leukemia, myelofibrosis, hairy cell leukemia (a rare type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and metastatic carcinoma. All are chronic conditions (except possibly metastatic carcinoma), which over time, change the tissue characteristics of the bone marrow. This study indicates that most dry taps are due to disease, not faulty technique (about 93% in their series).

    Another study found Hodgkin's disease was the most common cause of 'dry tap' in their series while multiple myeloma was the least common. This study was able to use small amounts of cell material in the needle. The first study used simultaneous taps and bone marrow biopsies..

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  4. Sep 21, 2013 #3
    Thank you very much.
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