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Leuk Lymphoma. 2018 Aug;59(8):1949-1958. doi: 10.1080/10428194.2017.1403022. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

Favorable immune signature in CLL patients, defined by antigen-specific T-cell responses, might prevent second skin cancers.

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a Department of Hematology and Oncology , University of Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.
b Department of Immunology , Institute for Cell Biology, University of Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.
c Applied Bioinformatics, Center for Bioinformatics and Department of Computer Science , University of Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.
d Quantitative Biology Center , University of Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.
e Biomolecular Interactions , Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology , Tübingen , Germany.
f Department of Dermatology , University Hospital Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.
g Clinical Collaboration Unit Translational Immunology , German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Partner Site Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.
h German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), DKFZ Partner Site Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.


The course of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), inducing an immunosuppressed state that also affects T cells as central components of adaptive immunity, predisposes patients to develop second malignancies with skin cancer being the most common. Recently, we found that prevalence of memory T cells with specificity for CLL-associated antigens defined by mass spectrometry-based immunopeptidome analysis correlated with a significant survival benefit. Here, we analyzed our CLL patient cohort for second skin (pre)malignancies and found a significantly lower incidence of skin cancer in the patients showing immune responses to CLL-associated antigens. Surprisingly, CLL-associated antigen-specific immune responses did not associate with clinical characteristics including leukocyte, neutrophil, and thrombocyte count, hemoglobin, immunoglobulin levels, or CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell immune status. Our data indicate that the CLL-specific immune signature of a given patient, defined by antigen-specific T-cell responses, might represent an independent marker to identify CLL patients susceptible for the development of skin malignancies.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; T-cell response; antigen; second malignancies; skin cancer

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