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Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2012 Jan 1;4:61-73.

Structure and function of the hematopoietic cancer niche: focus on chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Rebecca and John Moores Cancer Center, UCSD, La Jolla, CA 92093-0820, USA.


Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is a B cell malignancy characterized by the accumulation of mature monoclonal CD5-positive B cells in the blood, secondary lymphoid tissues, and marrow. The infiltration of CLL cells in lymphoid tissues is a key element of disease pathogenesis. It is in such tissues that are found the microenvironments that provide CLL cells protection from spontaneous and/or drug-induced apoptosis. CLL cells actively shape their microenvironment by producing cytokines and chemokines, and by subverting normal accessory cells to promote leukemia-cell survival, proliferation, and escape from immune detection. In this review, we discuss how CLL cells disrupt the niches required for normal hematopoiesis or immune function and subvert normal cells in the microenvironment to support neoplastic cell growth and survival.

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