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Blood. 2007 Jan 1;109(1):259-70. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

Over 20% of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia carry stereotyped receptors: Pathogenetic implications and clinical correlations.

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Hematology Department and HCT Unit, G. Papanicolaou Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.


The chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) immunoglobulin repertoire is biased and characterized by the existence of subsets of cases with closely homologous ("stereotyped") complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) sequences. In the present series, 201 (21.9%) of 916 patients with CLL expressed IGHV genes that belonged to 1 of 48 different subsets of sequences with stereotyped heavy chain (H) CDR3. Twenty-six subsets comprised 3 or more sequences and were considered "confirmed." The remaining subsets comprised pairs of sequences and were considered "potential"; public database CLL sequences were found to be members of 9 of 22 "potential" subsets, thereby allowing us to consider them also "confirmed." The chance of belonging to a subset exceeded 35% for unmutated or selected IGHV genes (eg, IGHV1-69/3-21/4-39). Comparison to non-CLL public database sequences showed that HCDR3 restriction is "CLL-related." CLL cases with selected stereotyped immunoglobulins (IGs) were also found to share unique biologic and clinical features. In particular, cases expressing stereotyped IGHV4-39/IGKV1-39-1D-39 and IGHV4-34/IGKV2-30 were always IgG-switched. In addition, IGHV4-34/IGKV2-30 patients were younger and followed a strikingly indolent disease, contrasting other patients (eg, those expressing IGHV3-21/IGLV3-21) who experienced an aggressive disease, regardless of IGHV mutations. These findings suggest that a particular antigen-binding site can be critical in determining the clinical features and outcome for at least some CLL patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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