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Br J Haematol. 2009 Nov;147(3):339-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2009.07861.x. Epub 2009 Aug 25.

Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis in first-degree relatives of patients with sporadic (non-familial) chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

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Department of Clinical Medicine and Centre for Research on Cell-Based Therapy, School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto-SP, Brasil.


Although biological similarities have been described among monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the relationships between these two conditions are not fully understood, and new epidemiological studies in different populations and different countries continue to be reported. Here, we investigated 167 first-degree relatives from 42 families of patients with non-familial (sporadic) CLL, using four-colour flow cytometry. MBL was found in seven of 167 subjects (4.1%). Monoclonality was detected in all cases either by light-chain restriction or by polymerase chain reaction. Fluorescence in situ hybridization did not show any chromosomal abnormality. The prevalence of MBL according to age was 0 (0/54) in individuals aged less than 40 years, 2.5% (2/81) between 40 and 60 years, and 15.6% (5/32) in individuals over 60 years. The prevalence of MBL cases in individuals over 60 years was similar to that found in familial CLL relatives at the same age group. This suggests that in older first-degree relatives of patients with sporadic CLL, the risk of MBL detection is as high as in older first-degree relatives from CLL families, which could render these individuals belonging to 'sporadic CLL families' as susceptible as individuals from 'familial CLL' to the development of clinical CLL.

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