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N Engl J Med. 2004 Aug 26;351(9):893-901.

ZAP-70 compared with immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene mutation status as a predictor of disease progression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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  • 1Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research Consortium, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The course of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is variable. In aggressive disease, the CLL cells usually express an unmutated immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable-region gene (IgV(H)) and the 70-kD zeta-associated protein (ZAP-70), whereas in indolent disease, the CLL cells usually express mutated IgV(H) but lack expression of ZAP-70.

METHODS:

We evaluated the CLL B cells from 307 patients with CLL for ZAP-70 and mutations in the rearranged IgV(H) gene. We then investigated the association between the results and the time from diagnosis to initial therapy.

RESULTS:

We found that ZAP-70 was expressed above a defined threshold level in 117 of the 164 patients with an unmutated IgV(H) gene (71 percent), but in only 24 of the 143 patients with a mutated IgV(H) gene (17 percent, P<0.001). Among the patients with ZAP-70-positive CLL cells, the median time from diagnosis to initial therapy in those who had an unmutated IgV(H) gene (2.8 years) was not significantly different from the median time in those who had a mutated IgV(H) gene (4.2 years, P=0.07). However, the median time from diagnosis to initial treatment in each of these groups was significantly shorter than the time in patients with ZAP-70-negative CLL cells who had either mutated or unmutated IgV(H) genes (P<0.001). The median time from diagnosis to initial therapy among patients who did not have ZAP-70 was 11.0 years in those with a mutated IgV(H) gene and 7.1 years in those with an unmutated IgV(H) gene (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the presence of an unmutated IgV(H) gene is strongly associated with the expression of ZAP-70, ZAP-70 is a stronger predictor of the need for treatment in B-cell CLL.

Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society

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PMID:
15329427
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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