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Am J Clin Pathol. 2001 Apr;115(4):571-81.

Mature B-cell leukemias with more than 55% prolymphocytes. A heterogeneous group that includes an unusual variant of mantle cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Hematopathology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA.


We studied 20 cases of mature B-cell leukemia with more than 55% prolymphocytes in peripheral blood or bone marrow, fulfilling the French-American-British criteria for B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (PLL). Cases segregated into 3 groups: de novo PLL, 6; PLL occurring in patients with a previous well-established diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (PLL-HxCLL), 10; and t(11;14)(q13;q32)-positive neoplasms, 4. All cases expressed monotypic immunoglobulin light chain, and most were positive for CD5. All t(11;14)-positive neoplasms were CD23- and uniquely positive for cyclin D1. Cytogenetic abnormalities were present in 19; in all 19, the karyotype was complex, indicating clonal evolution and genomic instability. The most frequent cytogenetic abnormality in de novo PLL involved chromosome 7 in 4 cases. Trisomy 12 or add(12p) was present in 4 cases of PLL-HxCLL. We conclude that mature B-cell leukemias with more than 55% prolymphocytes are a heterogeneous group that includes t(11;14)-positive neoplasms, which we suggest are best classified as mantle cell lymphoma. We also suggest that prolymphocytic morphologic features are a common end-stage of transformation for several B-cell neoplasms.

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