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Leuk Lymphoma. 2012 Sep;53(9):1785-94. doi: 10.3109/10428194.2012.673224. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Expansion of effector T cells associated with decreased PD-1 expression in patients with indolent B cell lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Hematology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), numbers of CD8 + CD45RA +/- CD27- effector T cells are expanded. We investigated whether this expansion is also present in other B cell malignancies and the possible mechanism underlying these changes. Whereas an increase in total CD4+and CD8+ T cell numbers was found only in CLL, numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ effector T cells were significantly increased in both CLL and indolent lymphoma, but not aggressive lymphoma and myeloma. Interestingly, PD-1 expression was decreased on effector T cells and inversely correlated with effector T cell numbers, suggesting a functional role for PD-1 in regulating T cell homeostasis. In vitro experiments revealed impaired up-regulation of PD-1 upon T cell activation in the presence of malignant but also healthy B cells. Our data suggest that in CLL and indolent lymphoma, the malignant B cells affect PD-1 expression on effector T cells, resulting in an expansion of these subsets.

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