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

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?

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago
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    Failure to obtain bone marrow on attempted marrow aspiration, "dry tap," has commonly been ascribed to faulty technique. All reports of simultaneous marrow aspirations and biopsies performed at the University of Virginia between January 1, 1983, and July 1, 1989, were reviewed to determine the frequency of dry taps, the diagnoses and pathologic findings in these cases, and the associated laboratory findings. Among 2,235 simultaneous bone marrow aspirations and biopsies, 87 were dry taps (3.9%). Of these 87 dry taps, only six (6.9%) showed normal marrow biopsies, whereas the majority showed significant marrow pathology, usually associated with fibrosis, or hypercellularity, or both. These conditions most likely account for the inability to aspirate marrow. The most frequent diagnoses were metastatic carcinoma (17.2%), chronic myelogenous leukemia (14.9%), idiopathic myelofibrosis (13.8%), and hairy cell leukemia (10.3%).

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