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Am J Clin Pathol. 1994 Nov;102(5):580-5.

Identification of monoclonal immunoglobulins and quantitative immunoglobulin abnormalities in hairy cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Pathology, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California.


Serum and urine samples from 161 cases of hairy cell leukemia (HCL) and 50 cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) were analyzed for monoclonal immunoglobulin (MIg) by using a combination of high-resolution protein electrophoresis, immunoelectrophoresis, and immunofixation. Quantitative immunoglobulin analysis also was performed on all serum samples. Monoclonal immunoglobulin, usually of low intensity, was identified in serum or urine in 26 (16.1%) cases of HCL compared with 27 (54%) cases of CLL. Forty-eight (29.8%) cases of HCL had an increase in one or more immunoglobulins; increases in IgG were the most frequent. In CLL, 48 (96.0%) cases had a decrease in one or more immunoglobulins, with decreases in IgG, IgA, and IgM in 76%, 68%, and 56% of the cases, respectively. The correlation between serum or urine monoclonal immunoglobulin light chain and the surface membrane light chain was 88% in CLL compared with 47.4% in HCL. These findings confirm previous observations of frequent polyclonal hyper-gamma-globulinemia in HCL, hypo-gamma-globulinemia in CLL, and weak monoclonal immunoglobulins in both disorders. The contrasting immunoglobulin abnormalities in HCL and CLL indicate distinctive biologic differences in these chronic B-cell leukemias.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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