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Cancer Genet. 2011 Dec;204(12):654-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cancergen.2011.10.012.

Clonal diversity analysis using SNP microarray: a new prognostic tool for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, USA.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clinically heterogeneous disease. The methods currently used for monitoring CLL and determining conditions for treatment are limited in their ability to predict disease progression, patient survival, and response to therapy. Although clonal diversity and the acquisition of new chromosomal abnormalities during the disease course (clonal evolution) have been associated with disease progression, their prognostic potential has been underappreciated because cytogenetic and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) studies have a restricted ability to detect genomic abnormalities and clonal evolution. We hypothesized that whole genome analysis using high resolution single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays would be useful to detect diversity and infer clonal evolution to offer prognostic information. In this study, we used the Infinium Omni1 BeadChip (Illumina, San Diego, CA) array for the analysis of genetic variation and percent mosaicism in 25 non-selected CLL patients to explore the prognostic value of the assessment of clonal diversity in patients with CLL. We calculated the percentage of mosaicism for each abnormality by applying a mathematical algorithm to the genotype frequency data and by manual determination using the Simulated DNA Copy Number (SiDCoN) tool, which was developed from a computer model of mosaicism. At least one genetic abnormality was identified in each case, and the SNP data was 98% concordant with FISH results. Clonal diversity, defined as the presence of two or more genetic abnormalities with differing percentages of mosaicism, was observed in 12 patients (48%), and the diversity correlated with the disease stage. Clonal diversity was present in most cases of advanced disease (Rai stages III and IV) or those with previous treatment, whereas 9 of 13 patients without detected clonal diversity were asymptomatic or clinically stable. In conclusion, SNP microarray studies with simultaneous evaluation of genomic alterations and mosaic distribution of clones can be used to assess apparent clonal evolution via analysis of clonal diversity. Since clonal evolution in CLL is strongly correlated with disease progression, whole genome SNP microarray analysis provides a new comprehensive and reliable prognostic tool for CLL patients.

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